Home of Railroad Day & Gateway to the Alberton Gorge & MORE !
ALBERTON MONTANA | Contact Us (406) 722-3404
See you in 2016.
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HISTORY & MUSEUMS of
With the frontier West evident in the architecture of our town's
~ Railroad Avenue ~ Alberton, Montana, treasures its heritage.
The town was established more
than 100 years ago as a "terminal station" for the Milwaukee Railroad. Traces of this industry can still be seen, though
the tracks and overhead lines of what became America's first electrified, transcontinental railroad are long gone.
the station depot serves as the Community Center and Library. An authentic Boxcar contains our Railroad Museum;
and the sweet Caboose inside looks just as it did when it last rode the rails.
Our Town Museum captures our
yesteryear in pictures and artifacts. And, of course, all ages enjoy the model trains on display in the Antique Depot. On the
west end of town, it was once the train station in nearby Frenchtown.
Stop by Alberton today and enjoy our history with
modern conveniences !
MUSEUM / History
HISTORICAL EXCERPT: On July 19,1909, the Missoulian headline was "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."
In 1916, Mineral County chose its first senator from among the residents of Alberton.
Due to illness, he served a limited time. HISTORICAL INFO: 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 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.
MUSEUM OPEN -
When the Milwaukee Railroad began its quest for a route across the country to the Pacific Coast, they encountered
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 for his track. Here, in present day Alberton, between Exits 75 and
77 of US Interstate 90, two families were homesteading ~ 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.
What the company needed was
land for the railway's right-of-way, a train station, and rail yards to service the steam engines, which were state-of-the-art
in 1907, when they surveyed this stretch of the Milwaukee Railroad.
Station building commenced in 1908 and
was finished by 1909. Originally, the Alberton terminal station, which included quarters for railroad crews to rest up, was
called Browntown. It was renamed Alberton, as legend has it, to honor two Alberts: Albert J. Earling of the Milwaukee Railroad
and one of the area's first settlers, Alexander Albert, who homesteaded on the south shore of the river near our famous
Natural Pier Bridge.
To learn more
about the town of Alberton, Montana, stop by the museum and Live the History
for yourself. Alberton Railroad
is held every third Saturday in July. You just can't miss it !!
^ Alberton 1961
^ Historic Alberton Montana
< Grand Opening of Railroad Bridge west of town early 1900s
-- third Saturday in July -- is a good time to visit the museum!
^ Railroad Museum
^ Railroad Museum Caboose
^ Former Train Depot restored for Community Center +