The muddy waters of the Yellowstone River, delivered in wooden barrels for twenty-five cents each, served Glendive’s early residents. The red flags signaling which households wanted delivery were sometimes misinterpreted by visitors as a sign of quarantine. Construction of a water and filtration system was therefore a topic of major interest to the early community. After several decades of intense debate, city incorporation in 1902 allowed bond elections that could ultimately fund such a filtration project. A $50,000 bond issue passed in 1905, providing for construction of a pump station, wooden water mains, and a reservoir. The early system was only for water distribution, and it was yet another decade before bonds financed $130,000 for a filtration plant. The City of Glendive commissioned the Northwood Engineering Company of Florence, Massachusetts, to construct the one-story front section which was completed in 1917. A two-story brick addition following the original design was added at the rear in 1923 and the state’s first water softening system, designed by city engineer C. W. Eyer, was installed in 1934. Expansion and modernization of the plant occurred in 1941 and 1960, but the original sections of the building remain in use. They represent the most controversial, expensive, and far-reaching project undertaken by Glendive’s early citizens.