Glacier County, Montana 1921

Glacier County acquired its political entity as a county of Montana on April 1, 1919. It has a land area of 1,309 square miles, cut out of the northwestern part of the state, with the Canadian line for its northern boundary, and for its western and eastern edge of the Glacier National Park. Most of the county forms a part of the old Blackfeet Indian reservation, and the aborigines still own the greater part of the land. As the terms of their ownership preclude prospecting by whites, little is known of the county's mineral resources, beyond the fact that it contains coal and that its geological formation indicates the possibility of oil.

Glacier County is one of the best watered counties in the state. The northern part consists of broad rolling prairies, with low lying hills on the horizon, the rich and abundant grasses making it an ideal region for stock raising, which occupation has been extensively followed there for many years. The western part of the county is somewhat rougher, owing to the outlying spurs of the Glacier Mountains. In the southern part the surface is level, and for the most part is favored with a good soil and a longer growing season, extending to about 102 days. In this part of the county is found the Blackfeet irrigation project, comprising the greater part of its total area of 122,000 acres. Indian ownership has caused slow agricultural development, though much of the land is leased to white settlers. In those parts of the county where land can be purchased, it ranges from $15 to $50 an acre, according to whether it is improved or irrigated or suitable only for grazing purposes. The principal crops raised are wheat, oats, barley, flax and alfalfa. Flax in particular has proved a successful crop, and the claim is made that the county has produced the largest yield per acre that has been recorded of any land in the world. Glacier County forms part of a great continental watershed. In general the streams flow to the north and east, the waters of St. Mary's River eventually finding their way into Hudson's Bay and those of Milk River into the Gulf of Mexico. About one hundred square miles, or one-thirteenth of the total surface of the county is covered with timber. This includes 32,256 acres, or about fifty square miles, of the Lewis and Clark National Forest. But a small proportion of the timber on the other fifty square miles is of commercial value.

Glacier County has rail communication east and west by means of the Great Northern railway, by which it is traversed, while the Roosevelt Memorial Trail, running in the same general direction, is available for motor cars and other road vehicles. Another fine highway runs along the eastern side of the Glacier National Park, connecting it with the local Glacier roads. At the main entrance to the park is located the small and picturesque village of Glacier Park, containing the largest hotel in the park.

Cut Bank and Other Towns

The principal town or city in Glacier County is Cut Bank, which is also the temporary county seat. It has an altitude of 3,698 feet above sea level, and a population of about fifteen hundred. In municipal improvements it is well up to date, having good water, sewer and electric light systems and well cared for streets and walks. Its business interests include two banks and a newspaper, besides a number of flourishing mercantile establishments, operated by enterprising business men who understand local needs and maintain a high standard of business efficiency and integrity conducing to their own prosperity and that of the town. Cut Bank has two churches, a Catholic and a Protestant, and its school system is particularly well organized and efficient. It includes a high school accredited for the four year term.

In the center of the reservation and about two miles from the railroad is the town of Browning, which is the headquarters of the Indian agency and contains about six hundred people. It was recently incorporated, the government having thrown open the townsite, and a number of important improvements are now under way. On the reservation the tourist may find interesting scenes and study the habits and manners of the original owners of the soil, while good hunting and fishing may be found in various parts of the county. In the principal communities there are good common schools, while an adequate number of rural schools conveniently located throughout the country districts provide educational facilities for the youth of the county.

Montana Counties 1921

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Source: Montana its Story and Biography, by Tom Strout, Volume 1, The American Historical Society, 1921

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