Augusta

Lewis and Clark passed through this area in 1806. Their presence here was well documented in their journals. Historians conclude that the prominent landmark they mentioned was the now-famous Haystack Butte

Around 1862, cattlemen brought large herds to the area. The South Fork of the Sun River gained a reputation for being one of the stock paradises of Montana. Before the winter of ‘86-’87, it was estimated that there was more than a half million head of cattle grazing in the area. That disastrous winter claimed almost 70% of the herds.

In 1901, a booming Augusta caught fire and within two hours the entire business section burned to the ground. The gutsy residents rebuilt and the town reached its peak in 1914.

This is a town with a real Western flavor. The western facades on the buildings, the general store, and the Buckhorn saloon all take you to days past. Latigo & Lace is one of the more contemporary establishments with an old west flavor. Augusta was named after the daughter of rancher J.D. Hogan. When the railroad bypassed it and built its 1912 station a few miles to the north, Augusta’s existence was threatened by the new town of Gilman which was built on that site. By 1942, however, Augusta was still alive while the upstart town had faded. Today it remains the economic center for the surrounding ranch area.

 

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