Scobey, Montana

The Poplar River at Scobey, Montana
The Poplar River at Scobey
Downtown Scobey, Montana

The original settlement of Scobey was built in the early 1900's by Mansfield Daniels on a large ranch that he and partner Jake Timmons had established on the Poplar River, about 15 miles south of the border with Canada. A lot of new settlers were coming to the area in those days and they often stayed at the Daniels place for a bit before locating their new homesteads and moving there. This happened often enough that Daniels added extra rooms to the house, then started laying in extra supplies, too. The agent on the Fort Peck Reservation, Major Charles Robert Anderson Scobey, was a good friend of Daniels and he helped get a new post office designated for the "settlement." The post office was shortly joined by a saloon, blacksmith shop, implement dealership, general store and hotel. The new town was named Scobey in the Major's honor. In 1912, Daniels built himself a mansion in Scobey with more than 20 rooms. Then the Great Northern Railway decided to stop their branch line just short of the town. About 1.5 miles to the northeast short. That way, the railroad could survey and plat a new townsite and sell all the lots themselves. Businesses started packing and moving in 1913, setting up shop at the new site so that when the siding became active on Thanksgiving Day, 1913, there was a town already in place.

Daniels County Courthouse in Scobey, Montana

As the town at the end of the rails, by 1924 Scobey had grown to become the largest primary wheat shipping point in North America and held that distinction through 1925 and 1926. In 1926, the Great Northern Railway finally extended their rails to the west of Scobey and not all the grain in western Daniels County needed to be brought to Scobey for shipment to market any more. The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl drought were hard on the area but Scobey and Daniels County rebounded in the 1940's and population and economic growth in the area are still happening (although the general economic crash resulting from the banking crisis of 2008-2009 has caused a problem). However, the only public schools in the county seem to be in Scobey these days.

Scobey is home the the world-famous "Dirty Shame Show," put on every year at the Dirty Shame Saloon during Pioneer Days (the last weekend in June). Pioneer Days happens at Pioneer Town: a collection of about 35 original farm and homestead buildings with old trucks, cars, farm implements and railroad cars on display at the edge of Scobey.

Fast Facts about Scobey, Montana
Scobey, Daniels County, MT 59263
Incorporated: 1916
Elevation: 2,467'
Latitude: 48.7909°N
Longitude: 105.4199°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 90.0%
Native American: 10.0%
High School or Higher: 84.4%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 14.2%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 1.5%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 924
Males: 423
Females: 501
Median Resident Age: 49.6 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $30,300
Estimated Median Home Value: $70,500
Population Density: 1,265 People per Square Mile
2011 Cost of Living Index for Scobey: 86.2
Major Industries:
Agriculture, Health Care, Lodging & Food Services, Educational Services, Telecommunications, Government, Construction, Building Materials, Finance & Insurance Services, Professional Services, Repair & Maintenance
Unemployed (March 2011): 5.5%
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