St. Maries Montana

Outlook

Between 1900-1918, during the homestead era, this community and some of the smaller ones to the south were much bigger. The town was named for Alfred Opheim, the second postmaster for the area. His wife was the first.

Outlook has seen several changes in its landscape since its February 1909 establishment.  Originally located 2 1/2 miles northwest of its present location, Outlook moved to its new townsite in 1913 when the Soo Line Railroad was built.  While several of the “Old Outlook” buildings were moved, the new townsite saw tremendous growth, most notably four-grain elevators that allowed the town’s wheat farmers to store and ship wheat using the new rail system.  Surrounded by growing businesses and rich farmland, Outlook’s population once numbered 3,000. 

Halloween 1999, however, brought devastation to the community.  The railroad that had once brought prosperity to Outlook sparked a nine-mile by two-mile fire.  The blaze, fueled by 60 miles per hour wind gusts, swept along the plains and destroyed Outlook’s gas station, post office, grain elevators, four houses, and numerous unoccupied buildings and farm equipment.  Contained after eight hours with the help of 19 fire engines deployed from as far away as Canada, the fire devastated the town’s citizens.  Nonetheless, hope remained as mayor at the time, Joe Wirtz, forecasted Outlook’s future, “We’ll be back.” 

Information courtesy of Sheridan’s Daybreak – 1970 and Sheridan County News

 

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