Chinook, Montana

Chinook, Montana
Downtown in Chinook, Montana

Chinook is the county seat of Blaine County. About 16 miles south of town is the Bear Paw Battlefield, the site of Chief Joseph's surrender on October 5, 1877 and the end of the Nez Perce historic run from the US Army. The Blaine County Museum displays early photographic records of the Nez Perce together with many artifacts found on the Bear Paw Battlefield among its many homesteader and military exhibits, and is located in the center of Chinook. The Chinook area was once a major sugar beet growing area and the town was home to a large sugar beet processing plant of the Utah-Idaho Sugarbeet Company, but most of that business collapsed among manipulations of the commodities market back in the early 1950's.

Chinook is located at the confluence of Lodge Creek and the Milk River. This is Charles M. Russell country, and it was his painting of a starving range cow ("Waiting for a Chinook") printed on a postcard that first won him recognition as an artist.

Chinook was founded around 1880 as a supply center for the agricultural region surrounding the settlement. The Great Northern Railway arrived in 1887 and Chinook was shortly the second largest town in the Milk River Valley (after Havre, about 20 miles to the west). With fertile land, good cattle range and a good supply of coal in the ground, Chinook had the largest wool and livestock shipping point in northern Montana.

Today, Chinook is still a vibrant small town but it is slowly becoming a "bedroom" community as a suburb of Havre... and the storefronts are all full (probably because there are no "big box" stores in town).

Fast Facts about Chinook, Montana
Chinook, Blaine County, MT 59523
Elevation: 2,428'
Latitude: 48.5894°N
Longitude: 109.2321°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 89.5%
Hispanic: 1.0%
Native American: 6.4%
Two or More Races: 3.1%
High School or Higher: 84.1%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 19.8%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 4.3%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 1,272
Males: 601
Females: 671
Median Resident Age: 42.8 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $42,500
Estimated Median Home Value: $84,100
Population Density: 2,472 People per Square Mile
2011 Cost of Living Index for Chinook: 86.5
Major Industries:
Educational Services, Construction, Health Care, Agriculture, Government, Finance & Insurance Services, Lodging & Food Services, Transportation Services, Social Services
Unemployed (March 2011): 7.2%
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