Photo of 1939 Cattle Drive Leading Straight Through South Billings
July 28, 2021
In Montana, the past peeks out at you from the facades of modernity. If you're standing somewhere populated in Montana, you are standing in a spot where someone did something amazing, and sometimes not too long ago.
Cattle drives to Eastern Montana were extremely important to the development of Montana and of the United States in general. Books and films like Lonesome Dove and Red River have romanticized the cattle drive into a bona fide American legend. But for many, it was simply a job - a dangerous job that may have come with the benefit of highlighting some gorgeous scenery on the way, but a job nonetheless.
This stunning historical photo shows a rancher herding a reasonably sized herd of cattle right through Southern Billings, at South 27th Street and 10th Avenue. If you were to stand in the spot today, you'd still be standing in the middle of the street, though we assume there wouldn't be quite as many cattle at this point. And unlike in this photo, the streets are paved.
Click on the photo below, and be sure to zoom in to inspect the fine details of this beautiful historical view.