Mountains

Mineral County, Montana 1921

Mineral County, having a land area of 1,224 square miles, was created August 7, 1914. It is situated in the extreme western part of the state, its western boundary line following the crest of the Bitter Root range, on the other side of which lies the State of Idaho. The northern boundary is formed by the crest of the Coeur d'Alene Mountains. A large part of the county's area, or 723,755 acres, is included within the Lolo National Forest, which, with the large private holdings, makes it one of the most heavily timbered counties in the state.

Mountains predominate throughout the county, but are relieved by the valleys of the two principal streams, the Missoula and Clark's Fork of the Columbia, which are fed by numerous tributaries. These valleys are long, though in places narrow, and possess an extremely fertile soil, and are, moreover, backed by productive bench lands, forming together an agricultural region hardly to be excelled in the state. The growing season is estimated from 63 to 1 10 days, and several kinds of grain, clover, timothy, vegetables and small fruits and berries are profitably raised. Agriculture, however, is yet in its infancy here, as also is dairying, though the latter is making rapid progress. The excellent pasturage afforded by the cut-over lands, of which there are thousands of acres in the county, and a plentiful supply of the purest water, together with convenient and reliable markets, make this industry very remunerative along the Missoula and Clark's Fork rivers. The abundance of hay for winter feeding is another advantage not lost sight of by practical dairymen, and more cows are being brought into the county and creameries planned in the smaller towns. It is not unlikely that these efforts will result in elevating Mineral County to a place among the best dairying districts of the state. Cut-over lands sell from $10 to $25 an acre, while cleared and well improved farms bring $50 to $100 an acre.

At present, however, lumbering and mining are the chief industries. The largest saw mills are located at St. Regis and Henderson, that at the former place being one of the largest in the state. The supply of timber is ample for many years' operations, and this industry, therefore, may be expected to hold its own for an indefinite period. Mining enterprise has resulted in profitable finds of silver, lead, gold and copper. The mining districts are near Superior and in the western part of the county near Saltese. Many tourists are attracted to this region by the magnificent mountain scenery and the unusually good fishing and big game hunting.

Mineral County is easily reached, being traversed by two important railroads, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul and the Northern Pacific. The latter road has also a branch line running west from St. Regis to Wallace, Idaho. The National Parks Highway and the Yellowstone Trail also traverse the county.

Towns and Schools

The county seat of Mineral County is Superior, which is also the principal town. It is located on the Clark's Fork, between mountain ranges, and has an estimated population of 400. In addition to a number of retail stores it contains a bank with deposits of more than $100,000, a theatre, churches and excellent schools. Two weekly newspapers are also published here.

The other important towns of the county are Deborgia, St. Regis and Saltese, all having railroad communication.

Education has been provided for in an adequate number of rural and graded schools, supplemented by two high schools, one at Superior, accredited for the four years course, and the other at St. Regis, accredited for the two years course.

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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