Before Valier


There was once a time when you could ride all the way from Conrad, MT to Fort Benton, MT without crossing a fence. This was because almost 200,000 acres was owned by Charley and W. G. Conrad. The Conrad brothers were cattle ranchers who heard that the land in Montana was excellent for raising cattle. They began to acquire land by either buying it or by their employees filing for homesteading land. The brothers were very careful to choose land along creeks or land with water holes. This was important because those who controlled the water controlled the land. This land was eventually called the Seven Block Ranch. 


About 1908, a construction company laid out plans for a town of 3,000 people on the bank of Lake Francis. 


Valier Fun Facts:

  • Valier was named after Peter Valier from LaCrosse, Wisconsin who supervised the construction of the Montana Western railroad company.

  • All saloons were to be built north of the tracks and once had five saloons at one time.

  • When the Valier Hotel was built, the materials were loaded straight off of the railroad as the hotel was built right next to the tracks.

  • The lake was once three small lakes before the dam was built and Lake Francis created.

  • The first Catholic church was built in 1909 by Father McCormic, a traveling missionary. Services were first conducted by Father Dunn. The first resident priest was Father Francis Joe Shevlin in 1911.

  • The first Protestant church was built in 1909 and was known as the Valier Community Church. The first minister was G.E. Hutt.

  • The first Methodist Church service was held in a restaurant and the plans for the church were created in the restaurant as well.

  • The first newspaper in Valier was the Valierian. This is still the name of the paper today.

  • Valier and Conrad had a baseball rivalry back in the day. 

  • Valier once had four lumber yards.


History from "Harvest of Memories" a book about the history of Valier, MT and the families who live here.