Sunday, March 15, 2009

Old Antique Vintage 1908 Postcards of Harlowton & Columbus Montana MT

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Today we are moving west to Harlowton Montana which is the county seat of Wheatland County. Harlowton is a small town and there are only five towns in the county. Founded in 1900 on the Montana Railroad as a stopover, the population has remained small with 770 people in the 1910 census, 1,856 by the 1930s and back to 1,062 in the 2000 census. Agriculture and the railroad were the lifeblood of the town and the town was the eastern end of the Milwaukee Road railroad's "Pacific Extension" route which ran electric locomotives from Harlowton to Avery Idaho. This postcard is a circa 1908 view of downtown with the State Bank on the right with a Cafe next door and the post office is in the red building which has 1907 at the top of the building. This is a great early view of downtown in a very small Montana town.

The next stop is another small Montana town and it is the county seat of Stillwater County. Located at the confluence of the Stillwater River and Yellowstone River, the first trading post and stage stop was started there by Horace Countryman around 1875 and by 1882 it was a major stop on the Northern Pacific Railroad which named it Stillwater Village. In 1894, it was renamed Columbus by the railroad due to shipping mix ups with Stillwater Minnesota. In fact, the town holds the state record for the most name changes at four including Stillwater, Eagle's Nest, Sheep Dip and Columbus. The population was 521 in the 1910 census, 987 by the 1930s and was 1,748 in the 2000 census. The area has always been primarily an agriculture and ranching center. This circa 1908 postcard bird's eye view of Columbus shows much of the town with railroad tracks in the lower left corner. This is another small town view that is a great collector's item. Both of these postcards can be found in my Montana listings along with 10,000 additional postcards on my website Moody's Postcards.


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