Lincoln County, Montana 1921

The varied resources of the great State of Montana are occasionally illustrated within the limits of a single county, where we may find extensive grazing lands, a rich agricultural soil, with timber and mineral wealth sufficient to make many substantial fortunes. Such a description well applies to Lincoln County, a political division of the state created July 1, 1909, and containing the liberal land area of 3,660 square miles. Lincoln County is found in the northwest corner of Montana, British Columbia lying to the north and the State of Idaho on the west. It is a mountainous and well-timbered region, most of which still preserves the original wildness of nature. A considerable amount of good agricultural land may, however, be found in the valleys. The largest of these is the Tobacco Plains Valley in the northeastern part, which is virtually the only one clear of timber, and through which flows the Tobacco River, one of the principal streams. The Kootenai River, carrying a larger volume of water than the Missouri, traverses the county for a distance of 100 miles, entering from Canada and flowing southwards for more than half the length of the county and then taking a westerly direction until it passes into Idaho. Its valley is the longest in the county, but is narrow. In some places between the valleys and the mountains are found a series of benches which, when cleared, are tillable farm lands. Smaller valleys are found in connection with the numerous small creeks. In the valleys the soil is usually deep and black, while on many of the benches it is a light red volcanic ash, frequently underlaid with gravel. A gray loam is found in places, both in the valleys and on the benches. The larger portion of Lincoln County is covered by the mountains, which are high and densely wooded. Grand and picturesque scenery is spread out in almost every direction, and the opportunities for big game hunting and for fishing are such as to make the region a paradise for tourists and sportsmen.

The wealth of timber is unusually great, and it is said that more of the area of Lincoln County is included within national forests than that of any other county. Within its limits is included the entire Kootenai Forest of 1,617,140 acres, also 398,666 acres of the Blackfeet and 8,371 acres of the Cabinet National Forests. The lumbering industry is extensively carried on and here may be found some of the largest saw mills in the state.

Mining is another important industry, the ores and formations being similar to those of the Coeur d'Alene district of Idaho. Placer mining has been carried on for many years and certain large areas are said to be suitable for mining by hydraulic methods. The principal metals which have been successfully mined so far are silver and lead, but gold, zinc and copper are also found. Promising mining properties are now in process of development by several large concerns.

The growing season for crops is estimated at from forty-six to ninety-seven days. The county is excellent for grass, clover and timothy in particular, and many of the farmers' give their chief attention to hay and the hardier vegetables. Various kinds of fruit are also grown successfully, including apples, pears, plums, cherries, and in the Troy section peaches. Land costs from $10 to $100 an acre, the price depending upon the character of the ground, its location and the amount of clearing and other improvements effected.

Railroad communication is furnished by the main line of the Northern Pacific, and a branch line running from Rexford to the Fernie coal fields in British Columbia. The National Park Highway runs through the county east and west, supplying good road facilities in that direction, while the Electric Highway, which begins in Southeastern Montana, has its present terminus in Lincoln County.

Libby and Other Towns In 1920

Lincoln County had a population of 7,797. Its most important town is Libby, the county seat, which has an altitude of 2,053 feet above sea level. It is a modern community, with good sewer and light systems, cement walks, graded streets, substantial business blocks and handsome and commodious residences. It also has a good high school accredited for the four year term. Next in importance to Libby is Eureka, a city located in the Tobacco Plains section, which at present is the chief agricultural district. It rivals the county seat in municipal improvements and is the home of the county high school, which, like that at Libby, is accredited for the four years term and gives additional courses in agriculture and normal training. Troy and Warfield are also busy and prosperous centers of population.

Lincoln County possesses many attractions for the ambitious and industrious settler, especially to one having some capital. The falls of the Kootenai River, between Libby and Troy, are capable of being developed into a superb waterpower, there are great mining possibilities, and a number of opportunities for establishing profitable tourist resorts. Logging operations have left considerable areas of cut-over or stump lands which, when cleared, will produce abundant crops. While the land is being cleared expenses can be met and even a profit made by carrying on stock raising and dairying, the abundance of grass and clover affording excellent grazing. In such a country industry backed by intelligence brings its due reward, and the pioneer of today is likely before many years have passed, to be numbered among its substantial and well to do citizens.

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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