Merrill Avenue Historic District

Glendive took root as a steamboat landing on the Yellowstone River and as a railroad center in the middle of prime stock country. When the Northern Pacific reached Glendive in 1881, its first cars transported buffalo hides and bones back to the “states” and river travel became a thing of the past. Soon countless head of cattle were unloaded at Glendive, filling Montana’s empty prairies. Sheep and cattle ranchers enthusiastically promoted the region’s grazing lands and the town’s business opportunities grew when it was designated county seat. The Glendive Times encouraged newcomers, even promising single women “...a ‘right smart’ chance to catch on to husbands.” By 1884 the town supported three hotels, several churches, a school, a courthouse, at least ten saloons, and a variety of other commercial enterprises. A calamitous fire in 1886 destroyed thirteen businesses, but the spirited community rebuilt in more substantial brick. A few buildings, like the Italianate style Masonic Temple, reflect this early period. Dryland farming and homesteaders in the early 1900s had a profound impact on Glendive’s economy. The 1914 Neo-classical style city hall designed by influential Miles City architect Brynulf Rivenes and the 1922 Prairie style depot that anchor the district’s opposite ends well illustrate this prosperous era. Although railroad-related warehouses, grain elevators, and lumberyards no longer line Merrill Avenue’s southeast side, this six-block district represents the years from 1886 to 1930 and tells the story of ranching, railroading, and farming in eastern Montana.

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Merrill Avenue, Glendive, Montana ~ Private