Loma, Montana

The grain elevators in Loma, Montana
Loma's grain elevators

On January 15, 1972, the town of Loma set a record for being in the region of the most extreme recorded temperature change in a 24-hour period in the US. The temperature started at -54°F and rose to 49°F, because of a strong Chinook wind that blew all day.

The town of Loma was built near the confluence of the Marias River and the Missouri River. On June 3, 1805, Lewis and Clark camped on the river banks. Lewis named the smaller river after his cousin, Maria Wood. Lewis and Clark spent ten days at the site, trying to determine which river was the bigger, longer, more easily traversed in the direction they wanted to go. Eventually they went with what we now call the Missouri. If you visit the spot, you can take a walk at the Decision Point Overlook or take a hike nearby in the Woods Watchable Wildlife Area. The parking area is about a mile off US Highway 87 near Loma. There is an interpretive kiosk at the parking area and a 1/4 mile trail leads up the low hill to the overlook.

James Kipp of the American Fur Company built Fort Peigan on the site in 1831, only to abandon it a year later. The Blackfeet burned Fort Peigan, then the fur trappers returned and built Fort McKenzie on the site.

For many years there was a ferry service across the Missouri just out of Loma but these days, you need to go to Carter or Virgelle to find a way across the river. There probably wouldn't be any kind of town at Loma if it weren't for the grain elevators and the still-active railroad line...

Decision Point on the Missouri and Marias Rivers
Decision Point
Fast Facts about Loma, Montana
Loma, Chouteau County, MT 59460
Census Designated Place
Elevation: 2,575'
Latitude: 47.9374°N
Longitude: 110.4998°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 97.8%
Native American: 2.2%
High School or Higher: 73.1%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 9.6%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 80
Males: 41
Females: 39
Median Resident Age: 39.0 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $24,100
Estimated Median Home Value: $40,000
Population Density: 23 People per Square Mile
2011 Cost of Living Index for Loma: 86.7

Unemployed (March 2011): 5.3%
Photo of Decision Point courtesy of trickofthelight, CCA Non-Commercial ShareAlike 2.0 License.
Photo of the Loma Grain Elevators courtesy of Will Brewster, Montana Film Office.
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