Photo courtesy: Bill Kuney
The development of the railroad in Montana gave birth to many of the small towns in the state, including Dutton, located just off Interstate 15 about 34 miles north of Great Falls. The Homestead Act was passed by the federal government in 1862. Thousands of homesteaders flocked to Montana in those days, coming in boxcars with all their worldly possessions on the newly established Great Northern Railway.
Originally a station on the Great Northern Railway's Great Falls & Canada branch line between Great Falls and Conrad, Dutton was was named for Charles E. Dutton, the railroad's general agent in Helena. In 1909, George and Sam Sollid purchased land from homesteader William "Stinking Bill" Frixel. The following year, they incorporated as the Dutton Townsite Company. The town grew rapidly and during the 1910 and '20s had a bank, a newspaper, grain elevators, and a variety of businesses. Unlike many small agricultural communities, Dutton has continued to prosper, in large part because of its operating grain elevators in the middle of wheat farms.
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