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Big Sandy, Montana is a small town in Chouteau County. Prior to the settlement of the town, the region was visited by members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the Lewis and Clark Trail follows US Route 87 through Big Sandy. The town is named for Big Sandy Creek, which is located nearby. The town grew up around a saloon that was constructed at a junction along the Cow Island Trail, between Virgelle, Fort Benton, Havre, and Fort Assiboine. The town was formed when the St. Paul, Minnesota & Manitoba Railway, which later became the Great Northern Railway, extended its tracks in 1887. The Spokane Hotel was built there in 1889, and the first store in Big Sandy began business around 1900, operated by the McNamara Cattle Company. Its population grew when homesteaders began arriving after 1909, providing steady growth for the next decade, but the amount of land offered by the Homestead Acts was insufficient to grow enough crops to support farming, so many of the homesteaders left by 1919. A bank was established there in 1910, and several grain elevators were operated there. Jeff Ament, the bassist for Pearl Jam, grew up in Big Sandy. The town is accessed primarily through US Highway 87, and it is located south of Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, and northeast of Loma.

 

 

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