Scenic USA - Montana
Each day Scenic USA presents a new and interesting photo feature from somewhere in the United States. Chosen from a wide variety
of historic sites, city scenes, backcountry byways, points of interest and America's best parklands, this site offers the viewer hundreds
of unique vacation destinations and photographic subjects. Each feature is coupled with a brief explanation. For further detailed
information, links to other sites are provided, but are never to be considered an endorsement.
Gateway to Montana
Montana's town of Wibaux is home to the state's Welcome Center on Interstate 94, just across the border from North Dakota. Known as the Gateway to Montana, Wibaux originally went by other names, such as Keith, Beaver and Mingusville. Minnie and Gus Grisy ran the post office during the late 1880, lending a combination of their first names to the town. Changes came quickly to this small town when Pierre Wibaux arrived.
Wibaux left France and his father's successful textile factory at age 27, moving across America in search of an opportunity to set up a cattle business. Trained as an equestrian with a French Dragoon regiment, Wibaux quickly succeeded at his W-bar Ranch in Wibaux County. During an extreme Montana winter in 1886-87, nearly 70 percent of eastern Montana's cattle perished. Borrowing money from his father in France, Wibaux managed to buy out the remaining herds from desperate ranchers. Amassing a herd of nearly 70,000 head, Wibaux prospered further with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Pierre Wibaux went on to become friends with neighboring rancher Teddy Roosevelt, established a national bank and helped raise the St. Peter's Church in town.
This scene of an empty prairie home in Wibaux County begs for someone to come along and sweep out the cobwebs, un-board the windows and brighten the exterior with a fresh coat of paint. With modern farming and ranching equipment, and farmlands that spread out for miles, small farm owners can no longer compete. Long gone are the homesteading days when honyockers began with 320 acres and relied on hand labor and tenacity.
Copyright © 2011 Benjamin Prepelka
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