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Lavina

Walter Burke operated a stage line in the late 1800s. He built a trading post and stage stop at this site for his Billings to Lewistown route. It was Burke’s job to establish stage stops, build corrals and barns for the horses, and lodging and dining (and drinking) facilities for the passengers and drivers. Of all he built, his favorite was the one on the south bank of the Musselshell River. He named it Lavina, after an old sweetheart. By 1883, a fleet of fine Concord stage coaches were leaving Lavina headed toward Roundup, Billings, and Lewistown.

When the railroad came through town in the early 1900s prosperity followed and many of the town’s buildings were built. The historic Adams Hotel was one of the first and still stands on Main Street. The town was nicknamed "White City," referring to all the buildings in the town painted white.

Excerpted from "The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia".

"Cow Country"
Historical highway sign near Roundup

In the 1880s, days of the open range, many a roundup outfit worked this country. The spring roundup gathered the cattle in order to brand and tally the calf crop. The fall roundup gathered beef critters for shipping.

An outfit consisted of the captain, the riders, the "reps" from neighboring ranges, the cavvy or horse herd in charge of the day herder and night hawk, the four horse chuck wagon piloted by the cook and the bed wagon driven by his flunkey. Camp moved each day.

The cowboys rode circle in the morning, combing the breaks and coulees for cattle and heading them toward the central point to form a herd. In the afternoons of spring roundup the guards kept the herd together, the cutters split out the cows with calves, the ropers dabbed their loops on the calves, took a couple of dally welts around the saddle horn and dragged ‘em to the fire. There the calf wrestlers flanked and flopped them and the brander decorated them with ear notches, or dew laps, and a hot iron. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses.

Excerpted from "The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia".

Copyright © 2003 Michael Dougherty. Use of this material for radio and television programs, printed media, webcasting, and any other source of mass dissemination is prohibited without permission of the publisher.

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