Alberton, Montana 406 722-3404
Alberton MT
 
HISTORY of ALBERTON 
HISTORY
CONTACT FORM
ALBERTON  Montana
Alberton Montana Railroad Day -- third Saturday in July! Learn more.
When the Milwaukee Railroad began its quest for a route across America to the Pacific Coast in the early 1900s, they had to traverse the narrow Clark Fork River corridor just west of Missoula, Montana (the state's second largest city  today).

Railway Company President Albert J. Earling himself
chose the north bank of the Clark Fork River here at Alberton. Two families were homesteading at the time: Henry and Catherine Brown, who had been working the narrow bench land since 1891, and Amadie and Phoebe Agnes Poirier, who began homesteading here in 1899.
Alberton HISTORY: Living With the Past to Enrich the Future
CONTACT Us: 406 722-3404
Mountain-top view of Alberton Montana. c) ViZzlo 2006
What the Milwaukee needed was land for right-of-way, a train station, and rail yards to service steam engines, which were state-of-the-art in 1907. That's when the Company surveyed this stretch of Montana for the Milwaukee Railroad.
The Milwaukee Railroad used distinctive colors: Orange and Yellow. c) Olympian arriving at Deer Lodge, MT.
The Terminal Station building at Alberton was commenced in 1908, and finished by 1909. Originally, the Alberton station -- which included quarters for railroad crews to rest up -- was called Browntown.
Locals were on hand to celebrate the opening of the train trestle at Cyr, Montana, three miles west of Alberton. c)
HISTORICAL EXCERPT:  July 19,1909, Missoulian: "Yellow Cars Are Running At Last"
The first regular passenger train from Butte to Alberton arrived on time. What only a few years earlier had been the homesteads of Henry Brown and Charles Poirier was now a Milwaukee railroad town. This was to be the headquarters of the Missoula Division of the Puget Sound Company. A large depot, a brick, eight-stall roundhouse and concrete turntable were all ready for operation. In one end of the Depot was a restaurant, owned by the Railroad Company, called the "Beanery."
The first Milwaukee Railroad Steam Engine arrived from Butte, MT in July 1909. c) Pictured: electrified engine Alberton 1961.
The town was renamed Alberton, as legend has it, to honor two Alberts: the Milwaukee's President Albert J. Earling and Alexander Albert, one of the first settlers in the area.
A FLOOD RAN THROUGH IT
About 13,000 years ago, a gigantic lake -- thousands of feet deep in places -- covered the valleys of Western Montana.
The Glacial Lake Missoula website explains, "Glacial Lake Missoula formed as the Cordilleran Ice Sheet dammed the Clark Fork River just as it entered Idaho. The rising water behind the glacial dam weakened it, until water burst through in a catastrophic flood that raced across Idaho, Oregon, and Washington toward the Pacific Ocean." Over the centuries, the lake "filled and emptied in repeated cycles, leaving its story embedded in the land."
ICE-AGE FLOOD SHAPED ALBERTON MT
The Missoula Valley was once part of a massive Ice Age Lake that burst. See its effect at Alberton's Natural Pier Bridge. c) Photo Top: D. Hollenback
The innovative Milwaukee Railroad electrified a portion of its railway in the 1920s.
HISTORICAL EXCERPT: "Mr. Willett became sick while serving in the Legislature in Helena in 1917. Diagnosed with leprosy, the Willets returned to Montana. An article in the 1923 Philipsburg Mail states that the Willett's "were not lonely, as they had been given a radio that would receive broadcast from distances of up to 2,000 miles away. Mrs. Willett also had a piano and a victrola to help pass the time. They gardened and did as much as the weakened Mr.Willett could do. He and his wife were quarantined to a house on the river bank two and one half miles west of Alberton ~ what is now the Interstate's eastbound rest stop.The Willets stayed here for more than five years before traveling by train to the new Leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana. Mr. Willett passed away on January 10, 1928."
In 1916, Mineral County chose its first senator from among the residents of Alberton. Due to illness, he served a limited time.
This historic building lived 104 years in the heart of Alberton. Destroyed by a Christmas Eve fire in 2013, the B&B was then called the Ghost Rails Inn.
In 1920, Alberton was incorporated as a town. The first Mayor was Elmer Slater. Cement sidewalks replaced the boardwalks in 1925. Electricity came in 1929, and telephones in 1954. The trains stopped running in the 1980s, but we live on today!

To learn more about the town of Alberton, Montana, stop by the Museum and Live the History for yourself.  Alberton Railroad Day is held every third Saturday in July. You just can't miss it !!