Railroads of Montana
Railroad Logo Story
The Montana Railroad was indeed a Montana original. The logo above was one of the first corporate logos used in Montana railroading. The “cowshead” logo appeared first in the Lewistown, Montana Fergus County Argus on December 15, 1897. Only the Northern Pacific’s “Monad” logo that originated from the Korean flag at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair pre-dates the Montana Railroad logo.
The Montana RAILROAD is not to be confused with the Montana RAILWAY which was a non-operating subsidy of the Montana Union Railway that ran mostly from Stuart to Anaconda, which in turn was Union Pacific controlled. On June 30, 1897 the Montana RAILWAY was sold to the Northern Pacific Railway.
Let’s go back the Montana RAILROAD. Richard A. Harlow organized the
Montana Railroad on May 26, 1895* to run originally from Lombard [named
for the railroads chief engineer, A.G. Lombard] on the Missouri River
where it connected with the Northern Pacific running approximately
56 miles to Leadboro [Leadborough] in the Castle Mountains which was in
the throes of a silver boom. The Depression of 1893 caused the demise of
profitable mining in the Castle area and Richard Harlow came up “a day
late and a dollar short” when he entered into transportation of ores from
the Castles. The Montana Railroad in its early years rarely if ever made a
profit so when Mr. Harlow decided in 1899 to extend his rails into the
Musselshell Valley and eventually to Lewistown, he had to use much
persuasion or “jawboning” to achieve financing. Hence, the moniker “The
Jawbone” came to be associated with the Montana Railroad. Tracks reached
Merino in June of 1900. A new town was formed here and rail yards
constructed which were renamed Harlow after the Montana Railroad’s builder
but the United States Post Office required the name be changed as it
appeared to close to “Harlem” a town and railway station on the Great
Northern Railway in northern
tracks which was incorporated into the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul
* There seems to be a discrepancy as to the actual incorporation dates of the Montana Railroad. Donald B. Roberston in his very informative volume of railroad information "Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History - Volume II - Mountain States" under the "Montana Railroad" lists the incorporation date as September 4, 1894. Montana resident Don Baker in his 1990 book entitled "The Montana Railroad" on page 23 states the incorporation date for the Montana Railroad as May 26, 1895. It is my opinion that Mr. Baker is probably correct as no contracts or building were initiated before the summer of1895. Richard Harlow did in fact charter other railways previous to the Montana Railroad including the ill-fated Montana Midland. So, I suppose technically, Mr. Harlow DID start working on the Montana Railroad even though not officially under that title.
The Montana Railroad - Alias: the Jawbone
Copyright 1990 by Don Baker - Billings, Montana
Robertson, Donald B.
Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History - Volume II - The Mountain States
Copyright 1991 by Donald B. Robertson - Taylor Publishing -Dallas, Texas
Dale Jones -Copyright ©2012
PHOTO DISCLAIMER: The photos on this page are from my collection. I have been
researching and collecting railroad photographs and memorabilia for over
forty years, I have gathered materials from many different sources -
original owners, photographers, online groups and connections, "swap
meets" or from those who wish to remain anonymous. Unfortunately, many
images have been passed around from collector to collector and the
original photographer's identity may have become lost.
It was the Montana Railroad
that put Lombard on the map. As mentioned in the above article, Richard A.
Harlow was the builder of the Montana Railroad and originally the location
now called "Harlowton" was named "Harlow" after the railroad builder. The
road's chief engineer was named Arthur B. Lombard, when the Montana
Railroad reached the junction of the Missouri River
In it's heyday, Lombard's 800 inhabitants hosted a hotel, school and all the other amenities of most Western towns. Both the Milwaukee and the Northern Pacific maintained depots in Lombard. There was also an interchange yard and from time to time, the Milwaukee stationed helpers there for the 40-mile climb up Sixteenmile Canyon.
The town of Lombard was abandoned in the late 1950's when the Northern Pacific and Milwaukee agencies were closed and the interchange yard abandoned. Even though Montana Rail Link still passes through the Lombard location, the Milwaukee has been gone since 1980 and nothing much remains today.
Many folks today desire to travel into Lombard to check out what's still there. Here's a gleaning of some comments from various railroad discussion groups concerning current access to Lombard:
"The easiest way in to Lombard is still
from the north from Toston. It's a county road with legal access. Yes,
watch for rocks and snakes. If you're in the tall grass, make plenty of
noise and tap on the ground. A tripod is helpful here. Snakes will feel
the vibration and try to get away from you. This is a good thing as you
don't want to argue with them. That whole Horseshoe Hills area is heavy
with snakes and even back when I was a kid, stories came out of that area
about the snakes.
Below is a gallery of
historical photographs of the Lombard / Sixteenmile-Montana Canyon area
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