The Communities we Serve.
Located in the rolling plains of north central Montana, Havre began over 100 years ago as the first trains forged across the Great Plains. Havre quickly became the transportation hub of the area, providing goods and supplies to the area trappers, miners and military stationed at Fort Assinniboine, six miles southwest of town.
Prior to 1910, the area was devoted primarily to raising sheep, cattle and horses. Ranches soon became lesser in numbers however, as farms started to produce some of the world's greatest spring and winter wheat.
Although agriculture is the undisputed financial mainstay in the area, the economy is diversified with farming, ranching, hospital and health services, education, professional and retail business, manufacturing, and railroad industries.
Havre is the focal point of commercial activity in the area. As the largest city on the Hi-Line, it serves as a wholesale distribution and retail center for communities within 150 miles.
Chinook, the county seat of Blaine County is located on Lodge Creek, where it empties into the Milk River. Our town's name comes from an Indian word meaning "warm wind," and it is this wind, melting the snow in January and February, that makes it possible for cattle to reach the rich grasses and survive. Chinook winds have saved many a cattleman from disaster. It was Charlie Russell's postcard picture of a starving range cow, "Waiting for a Chinook" (also called "The Last Five Thousand"), that first won him recognition early on as an artist.
Chinook features many attractions for visitors and residents alike. The Blaine County Museum showcases area history and artifacts with an emphasis on the homestead era. Native American artifacts and culture make up an important part of the museum's collection, together with early photographic records of Nez Perce life. Military and Nez Perce artifacts from the Bears Paw Battlefield are on exhibit. The Blaine County Wildlife Museum and excellent Golf Course, Swimming Pool and Parks make Chinook the perfect place to raise a family.
Harlem is located just north of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, located between the Milk River and Little Rocky Mountains, is home to the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes. Guided tours are available to Snake Butte, Mission Canyon, Bear Gulch and St. Paul's Mission. Watchable wildlife include a buffalo herd, deer, antelope, migratory waterfowl and upland birds. Annual events include Milk River Indian Days and Hays' Powwow and Fair, both in July.
Big Sandy, Montana
Nestled at the foot of the Bear Paw Mountains, Big Sandy offers small town living at its best! Located on highway 87 in north central Montana, Big Sandy is a short drive from Great Falls and Havre. Its population is around 750 and it is the northernmost town in Chouteau County. The town boasts over 40 businesses, offering a full range of goods and services.
Big Sandy is a recreational heaven. Some of the state's best hunting and fishing is just a stone's throw away, not to mention easy access to the wild and scenic Missouri River.
Rudyard is on the Hi-Line between Chester and Havre. It is said that it was named for Rudyard Kipling. (from Cheney's Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company) The area now is predominately wheat farms. The railroads were a catalyst for developing the towns along the Hi-Line. Rudyard is a shipping point for the wheat grown in the area.
The town has a wonderful, well-appointed museum in the old train depot. The museum features local history of the area, including a depot, working windmill, schoolhouse, outhouse, blacksmith shop, tar-paper shack, garage, farm implements and archives with photographs and family histories. Now a Museum of the Rockies affiliate, the Depot Museum's features a number of permanent and changing dinosaur exhibits. Also while in Rudyard visit the Hi-Line Vintage Motors Museum where vintage automobiles ranging from a 1915 Model T car to 1976 Cadillac El Dorado and 1926-28 pickup trucks are yours to wander around.
Liberty County, in northcentral Montana, covers 1458 square miles or 920,960 acres. Chester, the county seat, is 90 miles north of Great Falls, 114 miles east of East Glacier, 60 miles west of Havre, and 50 miles from the Canadian border. It is 24 miles wide and 60 miles from north to south bound on the east by Hill County, on the west by Toole County, on the south by Chouteau County and on the north by the Canadian providence of Alberta.
Most of the county is characterized by rolling prairies as a result of till deposited by glaciers. Gullies and coulees of the three major streams, Cottonwood Creek, Eagle Creek and Sage Creek, and of course, the Marias River break up the terrain. In the north-western part of the county, the Sweetgrass Hills rise to nearly 7,000 feet.
Joplin is a Hi-Line train station where hopeful homesteaders arrived to settle on "free land." The post office opened in 1910 as they arrived, most from Missouri, Minnesota or North Dakota. This part of Montana, formerly a battleground of Piegan, Blood, and Gros Ventre Indians, became a land where homesteaders battled the elements and grasshoppers. (from Cheney's Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company).
Take a walk where the dinosaurs used to roam, learn a little family history, play a round of golf, go for a hike, relax in a natural mineral pool, or cheer on your favorite driver at the races. Whatever your interests, Malta has it.
Shelby’s historic, mixed-use central business district offers specialty retail, unique dining, and a depth of services in a friendly, hometown atmosphere. The community’s growing industrial base provides family wage jobs necessary for a stable and sustainable community.
Shelby desires a vibrant community filled with unique businesses and industries that complement existing and emerging business clusters, enhance the local economy, and improve the community’s quality of life.
Great Falls, Montana
Great Falls is located on the north eastern front of the Rockies in the High Plains of Montana, midway between Glacier National Park and Yellowstone Park. Within a radius of approximately 150 miles are four of Montana’s six other major cities. I-15 runs north-south through the city.
Partially encircled by mountain ranges, topography plays an important part in the climate of the Great Falls area. Primary factors in producing the frequent Chinook winds during the winter are the Continental Divide to the west and the Big and Little Belt Ranges to the south.
Summers are generally pleasant with moderately warm sunny days and cool nights. Most of the summer rainfall occurs in showers or thunderstorms with steady rains occurring primarily during late spring. Winters are not as cold as is common of a continental location at this latitude largely as a result of the Chinook winds. Subzero cold weather seldom lasts more than a few days,
and are terminated by southwest Chinook winds which can produce sharp temperature rises of 40 degrees or more in 24 hours. Long hours of summer sunshine and adequate precipitation during the growing season make the Great Falls area climate very favorable for dryland farming.