The town of Virginia City, Montana, was a major center of gold mining during the late 19th century. At its peak in the 1870s, the town had a population of over 10,000 and was the territorial capital of Montana. Today, Virginia City is a popular tourist destination and has been preserved as a living ghost town.
Valley County, Montana, located in the northeastern portion of the state, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The region was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Assiniboine, Sioux, Crow, and Gros Ventre. These tribes relied on the abundant wildlife, such as bison and elk, as well as the nearby Missouri River for sustenance and transportation.

In the early 1800s, European fur traders and explorers began to venture into the area. The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through Valley County in 1805 on their journey to the Pacific Ocean. Traders and trappers followed, establishing camps along the riverbanks, and the region became an important hub for the fur trade.

In the late 1800s, Valley County saw an influx of settlers, attracted by the fertile land and opportunities for farming and cattle ranching. Homesteaders began to establish towns and communities, with Glasgow becoming the county seat in 1893. The arrival of the Great Northern Railway in 1887 further spurred growth and economic development in the area.

Valley County played a role in the early development of Montana's oil industry. In the early 1900s, significant oil discoveries were made in the region, leading to the establishment of oil fields and refineries. The oil industry became a major economic driver for Valley County, contributing to its growth and prosperity.

Today, Valley County continues to be an agricultural and oil-producing region. It is also known for its stunning natural beauty, with various recreational activities available, including fishing, hunting, and boating. The county's history is celebrated through numerous museums, historic sites, and annual events, offering visitors a glimpse into its past while showcasing the vibrant present.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Valley County, Montana.

  • 1860: The first recorded settlements in the area that would become Valley County
  • 1871: The Fort Peck Indian Reservation is established, covering parts of present-day Valley County
  • 1880s: Ranching and farming become dominant industries in the area
  • 1911: Valley County is officially created, with Glasgow as its county seat
  • 1930s: The construction of Fort Peck Dam begins, bringing jobs and economic growth to the region
  • 1940s: Fort Peck Dam is completed, providing irrigation and hydroelectric power
  • 1950s: Oil is discovered in Valley County, leading to increased drilling and economic development
  • 1980s: The oil industry experiences a decline, resulting in economic challenges for the county
  • 2010s: Tourism becomes an important sector in the county, attracting visitors to sites such as Fort Peck Lake and the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge