By Rick and Susie Graetz
Department of Geography University of Montana 

Bits of Montana Wisdom (Part 2)


Rick & Susie Graetz

The Dauphin Rapids on the Missouri River.

Have you ever wondered how certain Montana places, rivers and towns got their unusual or just plain unfathomable names?

Thanks to the incoming railroad across the top of the state, towns along the Hi-Line were named by the ingenious method of having a blindfolded railway worker stop a spinning globe with his finger and whatever it pointed to became the town's name. Hence the cosmopolitan flair given to communities like Malta and Glasgow.

How about the Yaak? Well, it's an Indian word, most likely from the Kootenai people. It means "arrow."

Legend has it the Yaak River is as straight as an a...

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