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The small town of Saco, in Phillips County, Montana, got its start as a watering station for the Great Northern Railroad. A boxcar served as a section house for two years until one was built in 1889. Tradition has it that the railroad agents were unable to decide on a name so they spun a globe and a finger landed on Saco, Maine. A town grew up around the railroad section house, a post office was opened in 1892, and Saco was incorporated in 1918. In the early days of the town, it had local outlaws such as Kid Curry and Long Henry. In the 1930s, much of the gravel and rock used to build the Fort Peck dam came from an area northwest of Saco, which developed into a community called Cole. The holes left from mining operations there are now filled with spring water, and are known as Cole Ponds, a source of bass and trout. Around the same time, natural gas was discovered in the region, and the town of Saco drilled its own gas well in 1936. During some of the area drilling operations, underground hot water springs were discovered, around which resorts were developed. The Nelson Reservoir was constructed for irrigation of crops, and has become a recreation area with cabin sites, boating, swimming, and fishing. Dinosaur fossils have also been discovered in the Saco region. The newsman, Chet Huntley, attended a one-room school in Saco, now known as the Huntley school. Saco is accessed by US Highway 2. It is northwest of Beaverton and Hinsdale, northeast of Malta, and near the Saskatchewan border.

 

 

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