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The History of  Valier

7 Block roundupox drawn cartvalier townshipvalier township

Before there was a town of Valier or a Lake Frances there was the 7 Block Ranch. It was said that you could ride from the present town of Conrad, Montana clear to Fort Benton, Montana more than 70 miles away and never be off the 7 Block Ranch. Started in 1886 this giant was owned by the Conrad brothers (W.G. and Charles) and it encompassed more than 200,000 acres. Originally a sheep operation, in 1903 the 7 Block sold off every head of sheep they had and imported a new breed of cattle to Montana, the Hereford. These Texas imports ruled the range for many years and are still considered the foundation for the early Montana cattle industry. The ranch ran a average of about 10,000 head of cattle during its hey day. In 1909 the Cargill family from Wisconsin purchased the Seven Block Ranch for the unheard of sum of one million dollars.  Like most ranches, water was a major concern for the Seven Block Ranch.  In that same year, 1909, the 7 Block Ranch had its last horse mounted round-up and 1,000 head of cattle were sold to help finance the new lake project. Lake Frances was not built for recreation, but rather for irrigation. 

Farming and ranching remain, even today, the main industry in the area, relying heavily on the irrigation from Lake Frances for its success. 

The construction of Lake Frances made possible many jobs, and soon the town of Valier began to spring  up along it's shoreline.  With the population growing, businesses and facilities to support the new population began to emerge.  Valier had become a bustling active city with theatres, fraternal lodges and even a horse racing track. 

Today's Valier nestles alongside a beautiful lake, just a few miles from the gorgeous Rocky Mountains.  It's rich with camping, fishing and other recreational possibilities.

  branding circa 1958sheep shearersdrag steam shovelhotelblacksmith

Valier was 100 years old in 2009!

Photo used with permission from Cathy Brandvold.

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