Ismay, Montana

Ismay, Montana

One story says Ismay was named for two of the daughters of Albert J. Earling, a division superintendent at the time with the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway. The daughters were named Isabella and May. A second story says the girls were the daughters of George W. Peck, general counsel for the railroad at that time. With the coming of the railroad, came the homesteaders, many of whom lived in tents around town while they were building shacks for their families to live in. The Great Depression and the years of the Dust Bowl wiped a lot of these families out. When it was all over, many of the homesteads had changed hands and much larger farms were being aggregated.

In 1993, the town coordinated a stunt with the Kansas City Chiefs football team and Ismay unofficially took on the name of the Chiefs' quarterback, becoming Joe, Montana. In celebration of the short-termed name change, a parade, ranch rodeo and night show were organized to take place in Joe, Montana on July 3, 1993. The town fathers were hoping to net a couple thousand dollars to help with the operating costs of the town's volunteer fire department. Before it was over, they'd netted almost $70,000.

Originally founded in 1907 along a railroad siding at the crossing of O'Fallon Creek, Ismay still exists only because of the grain elevators located there. Ismay is Montana's smallest incorporated town with a mayor who earns $4 per month as his mayoral salary.

Fast Facts about Ismay, Montana
Ismay, Custer County, MT 59336
Elevation: 2,526'
Latitude: 46.4995°N
Longitude: 104.7936°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 96.2%
Hispanic: 3.8%
High School or Higher: 100.0%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 25
Males: 12
Females: 13
Median Resident Age: 30.5 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $31,500
Estimated Median Home Value: $42,200
Population Density: 60 People per Square Mile
2011 Cost of Living Index for Ismay: 85.5
Unemployed (March 2011): 5.2%
Photo of Ismay courtesy of Montana Office of Tourism.
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