Friday, August 28, 2009

Frontier town ...

This morning's photo is an historic image of downtown Winnett, Montana, taken back in 1916. Winnett was a new homestead town back then, typical of dozens of such places all across central and eastern Montana. The place had a moment of glory, though: an oil strike at nearby Cat Creek in 1920, that briefly turned Winnett into a miniature boom town. People and equipment moved in rapidly, oil refineries were constructed, and by 1923 an estimated 2000 people called Winnett home. The town became the seat of newly-established Petroleum County in 1926.

The boom faded quickly, though, and by the end of the decade it was all mostly over. For the last 80 years Winnett has been a small and isolated ranch community ... and now Petroleum County is the least populated in all of Montana, with only 436 residents.

1 comment:

  1. My grandpa and grandma drove a horse and buggy from Kansas to Winnett to Homestead in 1910. They farmed the land, there was no oil at that time. They had a 3year old and new born, Grandma died, Crops dried up in a drought, Grandpa moved with the two small children to Chico, Californy.