Wibaux Commercial Historic District

From its roots as a pre-1900s cattle town to a farming community after the turn of the century, Wibaux well illustrates the transformation borne by many small Montana towns. This historic district reflects the high point of the town’s influence as an agricultural center. The dryland farming movement (1905-1915) brought an influx of settlers which in turn increased the number of farms and eliminated open range cattle ranching. Wibaux experienced a shift from the stockyard industry to agricultural trade. When a devastating fire swept away the principal business blocks in the district in 1906, the frame, false-fronted buildings and board sidewalks became a thing of the past. One- and two-story closely grouped brick buildings constructed between 1905 and 1917 replaced most of the frame structures. Today these give the district its architectural cohesiveness, featuring transitional stylistic elements between Classical Revival and the more modern “Prairie” school of commercial design. In 1910 alone, commercial construction expenditures exceeded $92,000, and Wibaux supported almost 50 businesses. The town had come a long way from its 1880 origins and its lively reputation as one of the “toughest towns north of the Rio Grande.”

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Roughly bounded by West Orgain Avenue, Wibaux, East 1st Avenue South, and East, Wibaux, Montana ~ Private/Public