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Glasgow
Downtown Glasgow
Downtown Glasgow
Location of Glasgow, Montana
Location of Glasgow, Montana
Country United States
State Montana
County Valley
Founded 1887
Area
 • Total 1.40 sq mi (3.63 km2)
 • Land 1.40 sq mi (3.63 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
2,090 ft (638 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 3,202
 • Density 2,287.14/sq mi (882.09/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (Mountain)
ZIP codes
59230–59231
Area code(s) 406
FIPS code 30-31075
GNIS feature ID 0771793

Glasgow is a city in and the county seat of Valley County, Montana, United States, the population was 3,202 at the 2020 census.

Despite being just the 23rd most populous city in Montana, Glasgow is the most populous city for over 110 mi (177 km), thus making it an important economic hub for a large region in Eastern Montana. Both Amtrak and the National Weather Service operate facilities in Glasgow that link the city to the surrounding region.

History

American Indians inhabited the region for centuries, and extensive buffalo and pronghorn antelope herds provided ample food for the nomadic tribes. The Nakoda, Lakota, and Dakota peoples alternately inhabited and claimed the region from the 16th to the late 19th centuries. In 1804 the Lewis and Clark expedition came within 15 miles (24 km) of the future site of Glasgow and noted the extensive herds of buffalo and various game. In 1851, the US government formed the first treaty with the Native American tribes, in 1885 the tribes engaged in the last known buffalo hunt in the region, and in 1887, a treaty was signed where the tribes surrendered 17,500,000 acres (7,100,000 ha), which led from 1888 to the formation of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and the removal of the tribes from the Glasgow area.

Glasgow was founded in 1887 as a railroad town by James J. Hill, who was responsible for creating many communities along the Hi-Line. The town was named after Glasgow in Scotland. Glasgow grew during the 1930s when President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the construction of the Fort Peck Dam, which became a major source of employment for the Glasgow area.

During World War II, the Glasgow Army Airfield housed the 96th Bombardment Squadron and 614th Bombardment Squadron, flying B-17 Flying Fortresses, at different times during the war. Starting in December 1944, a German POW camp was established at the facility, lasting until the end of the war. After the war ended the base was closed, and part of the facility eventually became the present day Glasgow Airport. Glasgow was the death place of Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Speirs, famed member of Easy Company, 101st Airborne.

In the 1960s, the population rose to about 6,400 due to the nearby presence of the Glasgow Air Force Base, (SAC air command and housing B-52 bombers) used during the Vietnam War and the earlier part of the Cold War. A significant amount of mid-century modern and Googie-style architecture was built in Glasgow at this time, much of which survives. After the de-activation and closure of the base in 1969, Glasgow's population declined to about half its one-time size by 1990, when the loss rate stabilized. Glasgow currently functions as the major regional administrative, shopping and services hub for Valley County and some of the areas beyond.

Googie Architecture in Glasgow, MT 6-2012
Googie architecture in Glasgow, June 2012

Geography and climate

Glasgow is located at 48°11′54″N 106°38′7″W / 48.19833°N 106.63528°W / 48.19833; -106.63528 (48.198252, −106.635402).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.43 square miles (3.7 km2), all of it land. The town has an elevation of 2,093 feet (638 m) and overlooks the Milk River Valley.

Glasgow experiences a continental semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk) with long, cold, dry winters and hot, dry summers. Tornadoes are a rare occurrence. Two F2 tornadoes did however, hit the Glasgow area on June 25, 1975.

Climate data for Glasgow, Montana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 62
(16.7)
74
(23.3)
81
(27.2)
93
(33.9)
106
(41.1)
110
(43.3)
113
(45)
108
(42.2)
103
(39.4)
96
(35.6)
84
(28.9)
69
(20.6)
113
(45)
Average high °F (°C) 19.9
(-6.72)
28.3
(-2.06)
41.3
(5.17)
56.7
(13.72)
67.9
(19.94)
77.1
(25.06)
83.8
(28.78)
83.3
(28.5)
70.4
(21.33)
57.1
(13.94)
37.4
(3)
24.8
(-4)
54
(12.222)
Daily mean °F (°C) 10.8
(-11.78)
19.1
(-7.17)
30.9
(-0.61)
44.5
(6.94)
55.5
(13.06)
64.4
(18)
70.2
(21.22)
69.5
(20.83)
57.3
(14.06)
45.0
(7.22)
27.9
(-2.28)
15.6
(-9.11)
42.56
(5.866)
Average low °F (°C) 1.8
(-16.78)
9.9
(-12.28)
20.6
(-6.33)
32.2
(0.11)
43.0
(6.11)
51.6
(10.89)
56.6
(13.67)
55.7
(13.17)
44.1
(6.72)
33.0
(0.56)
18.5
(-7.5)
6.4
(-14.22)
31.12
(-0.491)
Record low °F (°C) −56
(-48.9)
−59
(-50.6)
−45
(-42.8)
−19
(-28.3)
15
(-9.4)
24
(-4.4)
34
(1.1)
28
(-2.2)
14
(-10)
−8
(-22.2)
−41
(-40.6)
−47
(-43.9)
−59
(-50.6)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.35
(8.9)
0.26
(6.6)
0.47
(11.9)
0.75
(19.1)
1.72
(43.7)
2.20
(55.9)
1.78
(45.2)
1.25
(31.8)
0.98
(24.9)
0.71
(18)
0.39
(9.9)
0.37
(9.4)
11.23
(285.2)
Source #1: NOAA (normals, 1971–2000)
Source #2: The Weather Channel (Records)

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 1,158
1920 2,059 77.8%
1930 2,216 7.6%
1940 3,799 71.4%
1950 3,821 0.6%
1960 6,398 67.4%
1970 4,700 −26.5%
1980 4,455 −5.2%
1990 3,572 −19.8%
2000 3,253 −8.9%
2010 3,250 −0.1%
2020 3,202 −1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

Census

As of the 2010 census, there were 3,250 people, 1,479 households, and 834 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,272.7 inhabitants per square mile (877.5/km2). There were 1,653 housing units at an average density of 1,155.9 per square mile (446.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.8% White, 0.2% African American, 4.5% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.

There were 1,479 households, of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.6% were non-families. 39.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.85.

The median age in the city was 45.6 years. 22.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.3% were from 25 to 44; 28% were from 45 to 64; and 22.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,504. 14.5% of the population were below the federal poverty line, compared to 15.1% for the USA as a whole.

Transportation

Rail

Glasgow is on the Hi-Line of the BNSF Railway and is served daily westbound and eastbound by Amtrak's Empire Builder route.

Air

Glasgow is served by Glasgow Airport and has daily commercial service to Billings.

Roads

Glasgow is located on U.S. Highway 2, which is a major east-west traffic corridor of the northern Great Plains region. Montana Highway 24 passes nearby the city, a major north-south route connecting southern Montana to Canada. No Interstates run near the region.

Economy

As of May 2012, the major industries present in Glasgow are retail (23% of employment), public administration (16%), construction (14%), and health care and social assistance (7%). Farmers and farm services comprise 4% of employment. As of June 2014, the unemployment rate was 3.2%.

The median home price was an estimated $82,005 in 2009.

Education

Glasgow is served by the Glasgow School District. There are three public schools in the district: Glasgow High School, Glasgow Middle School, and Irle Elementary. Glasgow High School has a student population of 255. The remaining K–8 schools have 599 students, for a total of 854 in the public school system. They are known as the Scotties.

For Glasgow's residents aged 25 years and over, 81.5% of them attained at least a high school diploma, with 17.0% attaining at least a bachelor's degree, with 6.2% attaining a graduate or professional degree.

Glasgow City-County Library serves the area.

Sports

The Scotties of Glasgow High School have won 47 Montana State Championships in their storied history. Glasgow High School currently offers twelve sports for students grades 9–12 (football, volleyball, boys and girls cross country, wrestling, boys and girls basketball, softball, boys and girls track and field, and boys and girls golf.) They have been competing at the Class B level (40 schools) in the MHSA (Montana High School Association) since the 1992–93 school year. The school is most well known for their Boys Wrestling and Girls Cross Country Programs. They have won 13 state championships and 32 state trophies in Boys Wrestling. The 32 trophies are more than other Class A, B, or C School in Montana. They have also won an ALL–class state record 16 Girls Cross Country Championships.

The Glasgow Reds baseball team competes at the Montana American Legion Class A level (31 teams). They finished second at State in 2000 and 2012 and third in 1999, 2013, & 2015.

Notable people

  • Stacy Edwards, actress
  • Michael McFaul, former United States Ambassador to Russia
  • Donald Grant Nutter, 15th Governor of Montana
  • Tony Raines, NASCAR driver
  • Steve Reeves, bodybuilder and actor
  • Jerry Rosholt, journalist and author
  • Brian Salonen, NFL player
  • Anthony Washington, three-time Olympic discus thrower
  • Julie Golob, professional sharpshooter and competition shooter
  • Ann Hould-Ward, Tony-winning costume designer
  • Uan Rasey, trumpeter who played on several motion picture soundtracks in the 1950s and 1960s
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