Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Montana

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MONTANA, a State in the Western Division of the North American Union, bounded by British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho, admitted to the Union, Nov. 8, 1889; number of counties, 50; area, 145,310 square miles; pop. (1890) 132,159; (1900) 243,329; (1910) 376,053; (1920) 548,889; capital, Helena.

Topography.—The surface of the State is highly diversified. In the W. it is extremely mountainous. The Bitter Root Mountains from the W. boundary line, and E. of this the main chain of the Rocky Mountains cross the State. Between these ranges is a great basin, forming one-fifth of the entire area. E. of the Rocky Mountains is a rolling tableland, traversed by several large rivers. In the S. near the Yellowstone river the mountains reach an altitude of 10,000 feet and the peaks are perpetually covered with snow. Besides the prominent mountain ranges there are many spurs, detached ridges, and smooth, sloping buttes. The mountains are intersected by numerous valleys and cañons, through which flow most beautiful rivers. The highest point in the State, Emigrant Peak, is 10,969 feet high, and Mount Powell is 10,500 feet high. The principal river systems in Montana are the Shoshone, the Missouri, and the Yellowstone. The Shoshone rises in the Rocky Mountains in the S. part of the State, and after flowing W. turns N. and forms portion of the Idaho boundary. The Missouri river, formed by the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin rivers crosses the N. E. part of the State and enters North Dakota. The Yellowstone, a tributary of the Missouri, rises in the Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, flows N. E. across the State through grand cañons and gorges, and enters the Missouri, a few miles E. of the North Dakota boundary.

Geology.—The geological formations are separated into five distinct belts. In the extreme W. the Eozoic period predominates; this is followed by the Silurian, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary extending E. in the order named. The Rocky Mountains are principally of igneous origin, and are made up of granite, basalt and metamorphic rocks, and at the base of the mountains are strata of Jurassic and Carboniferous rocks. Near the Missouri river fossil remains of sea serpents, snakes, snails, and petrified tree trunks abound.

Mineralogy.—Montana is one of the most important mineral-producing States. It is second in the production of copper, second also in the production of silver. Copper production began on an important scale in 1880 and has steadily increased since. The entire output is furnished by the Butte district. The gold production has been falling off in recent years from the deep mines, but the placer mines have shown an increase. Lead and zinc are produced in important quantities. The State has important coal production. The fields are widely scattered and the coal ranges from lignite to good grade of bituminous coal. Montana is among the first of the States in the production of precious stones. Other mineral products are cement, clay manufactures, iron ore, mineral waters, etc. The copper production in 1918 was 326,426,761 pounds, compared with 276,225,977 pounds in 1917. The silver production in 1918 was 15,341,793 fine ounces, valued at $15,341,793. The gold production was 153,375 fine ounces, valued at $3,170,600. The coal production in 1918 was 4,276,000 tons, an increase of about 50,000 tons over the production of 1917.

Soil and Productions.—The soil under proper irrigation, excepting in the mountain district, becomes quite fertile, and useful for agricultural purposes. The mountains are well covered with forests of willow, cottonwood, poplar, pine, spruce, fir, cedar, and balsam. There is little or no hardwood timber in the State. The valleys afford excellent grazing facilities and the “bunch grass,” which covers the hillsides and plains, makes excellent fodder for cattle. The production and value of the principal crops in 1919 were as follows: corn, 1,728,000 bushels, valued at $2,851,000; oats, 6,120,000 bushels, valued at $5,569,000; wheat, 10,729,000 bushels, valued at $25,214,000; hay. 827,000 tons, valued at $19,021,000.

Manufactures.—The chief manufacturing industries of the State are concerned with the refining and smelting of copper and lead. There are also important meat packing plants and manufactories of foundry and machine shop products, lumber and timber, railroad cars, etc. In 1919 the statistics of the manufactures of the State were as follows: number of establishments, 939; average number of wage-earners, 13,704; amount paid in wages, $13,001,000; value of materials used, $46,744,000; value of finished products, $84,446,000.

Banking.—On Oct. 31, 1919, there were reported 138 National banks in operation with $5,030,000 capital, $3,792,711 in outstanding circulation. There were also 256 State banks, with $8,290,000 capital, and $2,190,000 surplus; 9 private banks with $645,000 capital, and $49,000 surplus. The exchanges for the year ending Sept. 3, 1919, at the United States clearing house at Helena amounted to $109,910,000, an increase over those of the preceding year of $6,353,000.

Churches.—The strongest denominations in the State are the Roman Catholic, Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, North; Protestant Episcopal; Disciples of Christ; Regular Baptist, North; Methodist Episcopal, South.

Education.—The school population of the State in 1919 was 158,674. There were enrolled in the schools 122,000 pupils. The average daily attendance was 87,660. There were 749 female and 616 male teachers. The average monthly salary for elementary schools was $91.25, and for high schools, $114.00.

Transportation.—There were, in 1917, 4,930 miles of main line track, 205 miles of double track line, and 1,594 miles of branches. The total mileage in operation was 6,987. The roads having the longest mileage were the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul, the Great Northern, and the Southern Pacific.

Finances.—The receipts for the year ending Nov. 30, 1918, were $9,254,263, and the disbursements $9,704,868. There was a balance at the end of the year of $2,583,810. The total indebtedness of the State was about $2,000,000.

State Government.—The governor is elected for a term of four years. Legislative sessions are held biennally, beginning on the first Monday of January, and are limited to 60 days each. The Legislature has 54 members in the Senate and 108 in the House. There are two representatives in Congress.

History.—Montana was partly included in the Louisiana Purchase, and partly in the Oregon country, acquired by the treaty with Great Britain in 1846. Till the discovery of gold in 1862 this region was but little visited, excepting by hunters, fur companies, explorers and missionaries. In 1864 the Territory of Montana was organized from parts of Idaho and Montana, and in 1875 Helena was made the capital. In August, 1873, several battles occurred between the United States troops and the Sioux Indians on the Yellowstone river, and in May, 1876, in an attack on the Confederated Sioux tribes, under Sitting Bull, in Rosebud river valley, General Custer and his entire force were massacred. This was followed by the removal of the Sioux and the opening of the country to settlement. In February, 1889, Congress passed the “Omnibus Bill” providing for the admission of Montana, Washington, and the Dakotas. A constitution was adopted in July, and on Nov. 8, 1889, Montana was admitted to the Union as a State.

Collier's 1921 Montana.jpg
Copyright, L. L. Poates Eng. Co., 1921