Alberton came to life when the tracks of the Milwaukee Road were laid through this valley in 1908. Soon in need of a school, the town built its first frame schoolhouse in 1910. Fire claimed the wooden structure in 1916. As classes were held in private homes scattered around town in 1917, the student population of Alberton School District #2 grew to the largest in Mineral County. The community rallied, laying plans for a new facility. Just before completion, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St Paul Railway discontinued its division point facilities at Alberton. Residents, however, realized the importance of a safe and adequate school for their town and vicinity. Despite the town’s hard hit economy, the $70,000 brick school opened in 1919, symbolizing Alberton’s transition from railroad boom town to permanent community. Completion in the wake of financial hardship demonstrates the solid commitment to education and faith in the town’s future that kept Alberton viable through adversity. The school, designed by acclaimed Montana architect Ole Bakke, reflects the Collegiate Classical Revival style. This substantial brick building dominates the landscape with its fine detailing, classical proportions, and pleasing symmetry. Kalispell architects Fred Brinkman and Percy Lenon designed the visually separate gymnasium addition, built in 1957. From 1919 to 1960, Alberton School was the only high school in forty square miles. It continues to serve local children today. While few of Montana’s vintage schools have escaped remodeling, this outstanding community landmark survives virtually unchanged from its original period design.

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216 Railroad Avenue, Alberton, Montana ~ Public