The Turn-Off to Buffalo, Montana is Near

Central Montana is vast.  Getting from one town to the next can take hour. That might explain why very few people take the time to turn off U.S. Route 191 to visit Buffalo, Montana. Let’s stop and look around.

Did you see the White Crosses near the railroad crossing? The Montana American Legion White Cross Highway Fatality Marker Program began in 1953. Over the years, we’ve seen hundreds of White Crosses along the highway that had been personalized by friends and family. The white crosses near the Buffalo, Montana railroad tracks are especially poignant.

Buffalo, Montana is an unincorporated community in Fergus County, Montana.  You can still see the buildings of businesses that failed in the 1920’s & ’30’s.  The old First State Bank is a well-known Buffalo, Montana landmark.  When crop prices fell and a drought hit eastern and central Montana during the 1920’s the financial institutions in Montana were some of the first fatalities.  More than half of the state’s banks failed between 1920 and 1925.*  Another striking landmark is the Buffalo School built in 1927. The architectural style school look very similar to the old grade school found in Vananda, Montana.

Before we leave Buffalo, Montana let’s pay a visit to nearby Straw, Montana. Straw, Montana is just a few miles north of Buffalo.  It looks like the  remains of  Straw, Montana is on private land so we’ll shoot pictures from the road. Can you see the old grain elevator on the far right?  The Straw, Montana school house is a private residence.  We’ll keep the residence private by only photographing the back of the school from the road. (That’s the South Moccasin Mountains hiding behind the grain elevator.)

*From the wonderful book: “A Traveler’s Companion to Montana History” by Carroll Van West.