Miles City, Montana

Main Street in Miles City, Montana
Main Street in Miles City

After the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, Fort Keough was built at the confluence of the Tongue and Yellowstone Rivers. It was from Fort Keough that General Nelson A. Miles and his troops marched forth to subjugate that last free Native Americans in Montana. The makeshift village that grew up around the fort was called Milestown at first but that was soon changed to Miles City and voila.

In the late 1880's, Texas ranchers were pushing huge herds of cattle into Montana to fatten them up on the free grass of the prairies before shipping them to the slaughterhouses of Chicago. With a railhead at Miles City, this fueled the town's growth for years. Then came the Dust Bowl years and the Great Depression. This combination of agricultural and financial disaster allowed Billings (further up the Yellowstone River) to overtake Miles City in terms of business, cash flow and population, and leave it "in the dust." But Miles City is still the retail and business hub of southeastern Montana.

Aerial view of Miles City, Montana
Aerial view of Miles City
Fast Facts about Miles City, Montana
Miles City, Custer County, MT 59301
Elevation: 2,369'
Latitude: 46.4085°N
Longitude: 105.8401°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 94.6%
Hispanic: 2.7%
Native American: 1.3%
Two or more races: 1.1%
African-American: 0.3%
High School or Higher: 84.6%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 19.8%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 7.1%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 8,123
Males: 3,899
Females: 4,224
Median Resident Age: 38.9 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $36,900
Estimated Median Home Value: $76,100
Population Density: 2,482 People per Square Mile
2011 Cost of Living Index for Miles City: 83.0
Major Industries:
Health Care, Educational Services, Government, Construction, Lodging & Food Services, Agriculture, Finance & Insurance Services, Retail Services, Repair & Maintenance, Automotive Services
Unemployed (March 2011): 5.2%
Photo of downtown Miles City courtesy of Nv8200p, CCA ShareAlike 3.0 License.
Aerial photo of Miles City courtesy of Daniel Schwen, CCA ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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