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Established by the Northern Pacific Railway at the time that the the transcontinental railroad was constructed across the northern tier of the western United States, from Minnesota to the West Coast, the city of Glendive is the county seat of Dawson County, Montana. The town was incorporated in 1902. The town was headquarters for the Yellowstone Division of the Northern Pacific Railway. Situated between the Yellowstone River and the Badlands, in eastern Montana, Glendive is primarily an agricultural and ranching community, although it was briefly an oil boom town when oil was discovered in the Williston Basin in the early 1950s, but moving the oil out of the area proved to be difficult and expensive, and the boom ended by 1954, although a small reserve continued to be pumped locally. In January of 2015, a major oil spill contaminated the town’s drinking water. Glendive is immediately adjacent to the census-designated place known as West Glendive. Tim Milford Babcock, the 16th governor of Montana, grew up on a ranch in Glendive, graduating from Dawson County High School in Glendive.


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