Prairie County is steeped in western history and loaded with charm and hospitality. Visit us and discover the rugged beauty of eastern Montana.
Take a break from Interstate 94 by taking Old Highway 10 into Terry. You will be able to view the Powder River Historic Point, detailing the fateful journey of Custer’s troops on their way to the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Feel free to stop at the Undaunted Stewardship® interpretive exhibit 7.5 miles outside downtown Terry to gain an impressive view of the Yellowstone River and the Terry Badlands.
Just north of Terry was the final outpost for the XIT Ranch out of Texas, during the remaining years of the open range. The ranch also shipped cattle north by train, but ended its run in Montana around 1905 after two bitterly hard winters. The ranch then sold off a large portion of its holdings in Texas. A historic Evelyn Cameron photograph shows XIT cowboys pushing cattle across the Yellowstone.
Terry is also located along the historic Yellowstone Trail. In 1912, a group of small town businessmen in South Dakota undertook an ambitious project to create a useful automobile route across America, known as the Yellowstone Trail. This was at a time when roads weren't marked, there were few maps and slippery mud was the usual road surface. The Yellowstone Trail Association located a route extending from Plymouth Rock (Massachusetts) to Puget Sound (Washington). The association motivated road improvements, produced maps and folders to guide travelers, and promoted tourism along its length. It became a leader in stimulating tourist travel. During the height of travel, Terry welcomed 85,000 visitors in 1925.
June 19, 1938, Prairie County unfortunately became famous for the deadliest train wreck in Montana history. Forty seven passengers lost their lives in the Custer Creek (or Saugus) train wreck after a heavy thunderstorm filled a normally dry creek bed.
These are just a few of the stories that lend themselves to Prairie County’s rich history. We are happy to share these and others with you! In search of an afternoon treat? Pick up a booklet at the Kempton Hotel, Montana’s longest continuously operated hotel, with delightful tidbits about each stop along our nationally accredited historic Volkswalk trail which meanders through Terry’s tree-lined streets, past our most historic homes, businesses, and buildings.