Nestled in the heart of the valley at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers, lies the friendly, quiet, and a little bit strange town of Fairview. As Montana’s easternmost town it has the unique feature of two states meeting on Interstate Avenue more commonly known to residents as State Street. Part of the town lies in North Dakota, while the majority is in Montana.
You can literally drive down State Street with the driver in Montana and the passenger in North Dakota. To compound the weirdness, the line dividing the Mountain time zone from the Central time zone also passes through the town. You need to be pretty careful when making appointments in this town.
Fairview is the Sugar Beet Capital of both Montana and North Dakota with a large part of its irrigated farmland devoted to the growing of sugar beets. While there are other parts of both states that produce more sugar beets, they got the title because they asked for it. Since no one else had ever asked, the governors from both states said—” Okay.” During the fall harvest, you will see millions of beets being hauled on endless streams of trucks carrying what looks like large potatoes. In fact, the industry is so big here that there is a monument in the center of town dedicated to the humble beet.
The people here are pretty mellow—honest, friendly, and proud of their community, but laid-back. Call the police department just about any time after 5:00, at lunchtime, or on weekends and you may get an answering machine. The residents here have pretty much always been known for their laid-back attitude. The story goes that in the beginning, a bar sat on the bench overlooking the valley below. A patron of the bar, sitting on the back porch commented, “Now that’s a fair view.” The name stuck.
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