Roundup Chamber of Commerce

246 Main Street • Roundup, MT 59072
Phone: 406-323-1966
WebsiteEmail

Directions:
Located downtown on Main Street in the 200 block of Roundup.
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The city of Roundup proper was a late bloomer in the American West. The original site of Roundup started on Halfbreed Creek, two miles west of the present location, in 1882 with a post office, a grocery store, and a community dance hall. Roundup remained at that location until 1907 when the St. Paul-Milwaukee-Chicago Railroad opened this area up for coal mining, so they could provide coal for their railroad endeavors and compete with the Northern Pacific Railroad in the Northwest. The railroad believed leaving the town south of the river would not fit into their plans, so Roundup was moved to it’s present location in late 1907.

The name Roundup came from the fact that the sheep and cattle ranchers who lived in the Bull Mountains would use a natural bowl-shaped valley in the hills to gather livestock, so they just called it Roundup.

The city itself was incorporated in 1908 and was built, owned and operated by the Republic Coal Company—aka the St. Paul-Milwaukee-Chicago Railroad. The first mine opened was known as Number 1, which was found at the base of the town, later moved south of the Musselshell River (the river was so named by Lewis and Clark). A total of seven mines went into operation, but of those only four were good producers. The coal was shipped to South Dakota once mined, to power the railroad’s ventures.

The population of Roundup and the county went from 800 in 1908 to 20,000 at the beginning of 1920. By the end of 1920, the county split and the population fell to some 12,500 souls. The town flourished until the Depression—the population fell to about 3,000 and has been there or lower ever since.

The area supports mining, farming, ranching, and various local businesses. At one time there was a great rivalry between the UMW and the Ku Klux Klan with a touch of the Mafia thrown in. These influences ran to the deepest levels of businesses, city government, mining and ranching. Although it is seldom spoken of today, the town of Roundup recognizes its roots as part of our history, even though we are not necessarily proud of it.

But wait! Today, we are a town in the process of rejuvenating. We have two grocery stores, two flower shops, a family owned newspaper that has been in existence since early 1908, the second oldest operative jail in the State, restaurants, a hospital, a saddle shop, and an abundance of gifted artists and local talent. Plus our architecture is as remarkable as our history.

Holidays coincide with special events—the Memorial Day Black Powder Fest, the Roundup Independence Day Extravaganza, or Christmas Specials— and this town offers more than meets the eye. The old cliche comes to life here: Roundup, Montana—this is what small town America is all about. Come and see for yourself. Visit our website at www.roundupchamber.net for more information, including a list of events for 2007.

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