Montana April 27, 2018
These 7 Old Montana Railroad Towns Are Still As Charming As Ever
Considering Montana was once home to three transcontinental streamliners, quite a few of our cities and towns either are or once were considered “railroad towns,” meaning they originated (or were greatly improved) because they were a railway stop. And many of those towns have maintained their original charms, offering a glimpse into local history as well as some great modern attractions.
Founded by the Northern Pacific Railway in the 1880s, Livingston was once a place where steam engines stopped for service before heading over Bozeman Pass. Today, it's home to 7,400 Montanans (and the most writers in the state).
The Montana Railroad once had a stop in Lewistown, and while that's no longer the case, you can still enjoy a ride on their dinner train, the Charlie Russell Chew-Choo.
Kalispell's time as a railroad town didn't last long, but this gateway to Glacier was founded as a stop for the Great Northern Railway, and it shows in its historic buildings and old-timey vibe.
Not only is Havre one of the most obvious railroad towns in the state (it's still the largest city on the Hi-Line of Montana), but it also has an underground city that allows you to look back in time to those early railroad days. You can even see it on the Havre Beneath the Streets tour.
Even our largest city can be tied back to the railway — in fact, Billings was named after Frederick Billings, who was president of the Northern Pacific Railway company from 1879 through 1881. The city was planned around the railroad tracks that already ran through town.
6. Deer Lodge
Deer Lodge is the second oldest town in Montana. It also once served as a division headquarters for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad, something you'll still see evidence of all over town.
There's no doubt that Whitefish is one of the most charming cities in Montana. The Great Northern Railway established the city in 1904, and before that, Whitefish was known as Stumptown because of the huge amount of timber that had to be cleared to build the town and railroad (and because tree stumps were left in the streets throughout the area).
The Treasure State has so many picturesque small towns.
These are a few of our favorites.