Post written by Janine Merrill, Marketing Officer
Well, folks – this is the third and final installment of Small Towns. Big Hearts!
It’s been a wonderful journey exploring the smallest towns where Stockman Bank has branches. Here are the final two “Bigs of the Smalls!” (Did you guess the right towns?)
WIBAUX – population 589
Located on the eastern edge of the state along the North Dakota border and an exit off I-94, Wibaux is the county seat of Wibaux County.
Coming into town, travelers are greeted with a tin man sculpture. It’s just one of many interesting items located around town.
Originally named at different times (Keith, Beaver, and Mingusville), the town is named after prominent local cattle rancher Pierre Wibaux, who immigrated to the area from France.
Wibaux became a major cattle shipping center for the Northern Pacific Railroad.
Many of the cattle came from the infamous Theodore Roosevelt ranches near Medora, North Dakota. Several cattle drives of the 1880’s passed by Wibaux on their way from Texas to the northern ranges.
The Pierre Wibaux House Museum complex is a popular tourist attraction and tells the story of Pierre Wibaux and his life.
The museum houses farm and household exhibits of early settlers. It also includes Indian artifacts and an old-fashioned barbershop, livery stable, a railroad caboose, and gardens.
The Centennial Car Museum, a railroad car, was on display at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.
Home to the Class C Wibaux Longhorns, the community is steeped in a rich tradition of high school sports including football, volleyball, basketball and track.
During any given week of the year with Montana 8-man football, there’s always a good chance that the Longhorns will be sitting at the top of the polls!
According to Stockman Bank Branch Manager Wanda Van Vleet, the town really comes alive for game day to support “the Horns!”!
TERRY – population 605
Last, but certainly not least, is Terry. Beautifully situated off I-94 between Miles City and Glendive, Terry is the county seat of Prairie County.
The site where Terry is located was first called Joubert’s Landing. This was in recognition of a man who built a supply point along the Yellowstone River for freighters traveling from Bismarck to Miles City.
It was renamed Terry in 1881 when the Northern Pacific Railway’s transcontinental rail line arrived. It was named after Alfred Howe Terry, a General in the Union Army who commanded an 1876 expedition to the area.
The Terry Badlands and the Evelyn Cameron Museum attract visitors from all over the world each year. Evelyn Cameron was a photographer who documented her life as a pioneer near Terry from the 1890’s onward.
Her work includes photos of settlers in Eastern Montana. In addition, there are photos of cowboys, sheepherders, and many other scenarios of life back in the day.
The Terry Badlands Trails is also a huge scenic attraction.
Several events are held in Terry each year according to Stockman Bank Operations Officer, Cindy Kiosse.
The 4th of July is a huge celebration in terms of activities at the local park and around town. Additionally, the Terry Yippee Community Appreciation Day and class reunions are local favorites.
The Prairie County Fair is held each summer and draws people from all over.
The Prairie County Hospital Foundation’s “Fun for All” fundraiser is another big event that raises funds for hospital improvements and the medical scholarship fund.
As in all small towns, the schools and sports teams play a large role in the town’s culture. Interestingly, Terry is in a co-op with Dawson County High School in Glendive for Class A football. However, they remain the Terry Terriers for all other sports- competing as a District 4C school.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this three-part series on our smallest town banks as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Small town life in Montana is alive and well and worth the time to experience.
Next time you’re traveling along I-94, I-90, I-15, Highway 80, 87 or any other Montana Highway, take some time to exit and explore the beauty, uniqueness and most importantly the people who are the heart of small towns in Montana!