Chinook, small town charm
-- big hearted ambience
estled in the Milk River valley, along Montana’s Hi-Line,
is the cozy town of Chinook which grew up in the 1890s
as people looked for a good trade point and farmers and
ranchers settled both in the flat lands and the Bear’s Paw
Mountains to the south.
When the railroad came through in the 1880s, it opened the
fertile lands to homesteaders and created a shipping center for
crops, livestock and other goods. Later, farmers planted thousands
of acres into sugar beets to supply the Utah-Idaho Sugar Co. which
operated in the area from 1924 until 1951. The factory and its
225 ft. smokestack are Chinook landmarks even today. That thriving business led to schools' team name, the Chinook Sugarbeeters.
Chinook, the county seat of Blaine County, is located on
Lodge Creek where it empties into the Milk River. The town's name
comes from an Indian word meaning "warm wind," and it is this
wind which melts snow in winter months.
The town of Chinook is rich in the cultural heritage of Mon
tana. South of Chinook lies the Bear Paw Battlefield, where the last
Indian battle in the United States was fought in 1877. Chief Joseph
of the Nez Perce surrendered with the infamous words: “From
where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”
The Blaine County Museum is a site not to miss in Chinook. It
offers people of all ages the chance to experience this area from
prehistoric to pioneer times and through the two world wars. It is a
part of the Montana Dinosaur Trail, and it offers Native American
artifacts and culture including the outstanding multi-media presentation “Forty Miles to Freedom” which provides a comprehensive
introduction to the flight of the Nez Perce.
The Blaine County Wildlife Museum offers an array of
mounted Montana animals and birds displayed in their natural
Grande Villa Apt.
301 Pennsylvania • Chinook, MT 59523
habitat. Exhibits include a buffalo jump, wetlands, Peaks to Plains
Chinook offers year-round entertainment opportunities as well.
On Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25, Chinook welcomes
the Bear Paw Roundup and PRCA Rodeo for a two-day competition spectacular. A street dance is held on Friday and the Western
Parade is on Saturday for the event.
July offers the 1st Annual Blaine County Cruise and the Blaine
County Fair with entertainment, rides, exhibits, 4-H competitions
and a state-renowned demolition derby. The fair starts on Thursday, July 14, and runs through Sunday, July 17.
Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23 and 24, Chinook offers the
Sugarbeet Festival. This event includes an outdoor pancake breakfast, community parade, sugar beet growing contest, arts and
crafts, food booths, car show and more.
Thanksgiving evening, Nov. 25, is the town's unique holiday
celebration with a Parade of Lights and Christmas Stroll.
On the Net: Chinook Web site: www.chinookmontana.com.