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On January 17, 1907, Walter A. Shear and John H. Kane published the first issue of the Wibaux [Montana] Pioneer in which they described Wibaux as “the first town in Montana,” that is, the first community established west of the North Dakota border. The paper described Wibaux as a “typical hustling, western town with metropolitan ideas and 500 inhabitants.” According to the editors, Wibaux could be identified by its freshly painted houses and pretty lawns, with “no idlers about, and no man without a job or something to keep him busy.” The Pioneer went on to list the businesses in town: two banks, two hotels, three saloons, three churches, one barbershop, three general stores, one dentist and a physician, three stage lines, and the Northern Pacific Railway. The year 1907 coincided with a major homestead boom in eastern Montana which continued until the arrival of drought in 1917. Early issues of the Pilot featured photographs of Wibaux’s Main Street, and editorials called for a new county of Wibaux to be split off from Dawson County.
The four-page, six-column weekly rarely skipped an issue, even in 1929 when heavy rains filled the basement pressroom with five feet of water and the editors sought help from publishers in nearby Glendive. The paper continues to publish today under the title of Wibaux Pioneer-Gazette.
Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT