Liberty County, Montana 1921

Liberty County, politically created February n, 1920, and therefore one of the newest counties in Montana, is situated in the north central portion of the state, and is a county possessing many attractions for the ambitious farmer. Its land area of 1,458 square miles is contained within a somewhat elongated parallelogram, having a length north and south of sixty miles and a width east and west of twenty-four miles. Its northern boundary is the Canadian Province of Alberta.

Status of Liberty County

The surface of Liberty County is in general level or slightly rolling, the more elevated portion being included within the region of the Sweet Grass Hills in the northern part, a region attractive to tourists by reason of its pleasing scenery and its good natural facilities for hunting and fishing. Even in that region fifty per cent of the land is tillable, while the cultivable land in the county amounts to about ninety per cent of its entire area, an exceptionally high aggregate. The drainage and water supply of the county are especially good, and are furnished by a number of streams the most important of which are Maria's River, Eagle Creek, Willow Creek, Cottonwood Creek and Pondera Coulee.

Though there is some irrigated land in the county, most of it is non-irrigated; yet under ordinary conditions it produces abundant and excellent crops without the additional expense attached to artificial watering. Agriculture and stock raising are the chief industries, yet these are still in their infancy, and 40,000 acres of tillable land, well supplied with water, which is everywhere obtainable, can be purchased at prices varying from $15 to $25 an acre, or, in the case of grazing land, as low as $10 an acre. Improved irrigated lands sell from $25 to $75 an acre. Wheat, oats and flax are raised successfully and in considerable quantities, as also are garden vegetables, while sunflowers are raised for silage purposes. The timber in the county is confined almost entirely to the cottonwood along the streams.

Liberty County possesses other resources which may in time be developed into valuable commercial assets. Coal exists in considerable quantities, while among the lesser mineral deposits are gold, silver, lead and marble. The discovery of oil and gas are among the possibilities of the future. No commercial development of the mineral deposits has yet taken place, but their existence spells opportunity for those who are able to grasp it. In the meanwhile the land, the climate, with its growing season of 101 days, and the convenient markets and shipping points found in neighboring towns guarantee to the active and capable farmer the practical certainty of a good livelihood with gradually increasing wealth. Transportation facilities are supplied by the main line of the Great Northern Railway, which crosses the county east and west, and the Roosevelt Memorial Highway, running parallel with the railroad.

The rural dweller in any part of the county can find a town or village at no great distance wherein to obtain supplies or market a part of his produce. Chester, the county seat, which has an altitude of 3,132 feet above the sea level, is the most important town in the county. It is situated on the Great Northern Railway and has good banking and mercantile facilities. Among its more important institutions is a high school accredited for the two years course. Its citizens are up-to-date and disposed to aid one another in securing for the community a place in the vanguard of progress. A first-class hotel would be a valuable addition to local improvements and would doubtless be well patronized. Joplin and Lothair are also growing communities on the railroad, while Whitlash, Alma and Laird are important inland towns.

A good foundation has been laid for the education of youth in the forty-six schools now established in the county, and the extension of school facilities will take place in accordance with local needs. Such, in brief, is Liberty County, an integral portion of the great Northwest, the land of opportunity, a home for busy men and women with bright hopes and abundant promise for the future.

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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