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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Big Sandy in Chouteau County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Big Sandy

 
 
Big Sandy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2019
1. Big Sandy Marker
Inscription.  According to legend, the town and the creek got their name from the muleskinner "Big Sandy" Lane. The creek was flooded during one of his long treks from Cow Island to Fort Benton. When "Big Sandy" fluently bewailed his bad luck in superlatives reserved strictly for "skinners," the creek dried up immediately and he was able to cross! Probably a more correct version of the legend was he lost a wheel at the crossing and setup camp. Since then the creek and the camp were called Big Sandy. Regardless of origin, the campsite and crossing were used by the Cow Island and Fort Walsh Trails.
While Fort Assiniboine was being built in 1879, McNamara and Marlow erected a warehouse at the trail crossing. It was not until 1886 that Swanson constructed the first commercial establishment, a saloon in a tent. The town was born, with a boxcar for a depot and a one-room shack for the section foreman. The rest of the town consisted of the M&M warehouse and nine saloons, mostly tents on wooden platforms. After a few hours at the bar, the nightly sport was to hook onto the platforms with horses, and pull the saloons wildly across the prairie with tent flaps
Big Sandy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2019
2. Big Sandy Marker
flying. In hot pursuit were the bar owners, yelling and swearing! It was a rip-roaring town, filled nightly with gandy dancers, cowboys, Indians, soldiers and hopefully nine saloons that provided the only entertainment.
 
Location. 48° 10.783′ N, 110° 6.655′ W. Marker is in Big Sandy, Montana, in Chouteau County. Marker is at the intersection of Broadway (U.S. 87) and McNamara Avenue, on the left when traveling north on Broadway. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 79346 US Highway 87, Big Sandy MT 59520, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cow Island Trail (here, next to this marker); Judith Landing (here, next to this marker); Fort Walsh Trail (here, next to this marker); An Island on the Plains (within shouting distance of this marker).
 
More about this marker. The marker is located at the kiosk at the intersection of US Hwy 87 and McNamara Avenue.
 
Regarding Big Sandy. Big Sandy, MT "For decades Big Sandy's primary landmark was the town water tower, which was visible for many miles. The water tower was dismantled in 1993. As of 2019 some local and former residents have banded together to establish a particularly charismatic and recurring puddle on Main Street (which has been dubbed, simply, "Puddle") as a new and recognizable landmark of the municipality." -- Wikipedia
 
Categories. EntertainmentIndustry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers
 
Big Sandy Kiosk image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2019
3. Big Sandy Kiosk
 

More. Search the internet for Big Sandy.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 12, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 12, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 50 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 12, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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