Big Sky Treasures

2019 July Montana Trip 006

While traveling Interstate 90, a photo opportunity at a rest area in eastern Montana offers a look at the landscape.

Growing up in Montana and spending about 50 years living there certainly makes me a citizen for life.  This short feature will shine the spotlight on three questions about the “Last Best Place” called Montana.

Here are three questions which will be answered in a moment or two.  Good luck with your responses.  Bonus points are awarded for anyone who scores a perfect 100%, without searching on the Internet.

  • What is the coldest temperature ever recorded in the lower 48 states of the United States?  Where did it occur?
  • What are the two most popular nicknames used for Montana?  What is the background behind each name?
  • What is the most sparsely populated county in Montana?

The coldest temperature ever recorded is -70F on January 20, 1954.  The location was Rogers Pass, which is located on Montana Highway 200 along the Continental Divide at an elevation of 5,610 feet.  The thermometer malfunctioned because of the extreme cold, and a laboratory tested the broken thermometer to make a final determination on how cold it was on that January night.


Source:  Pinterest.

Montana’s two most popular nicknames are the Treasure State and the Big Sky Country.  The Treasure State has gained a presence because of Montana’s rich gold and silver deposits.  The Big Sky Country was popularized to promote tourism in the state.  With permission of author A. B. Guthrie, the state acquired the use of his best-selling novel’s title The Big Sky.  Guthrie’s writing was honored with a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1950.

Last of all, the most sparsely populated county (out of 56) is Garfield County.  Depending on the population figures used, the statistics may vary just a bit.  The county covers 4,849 square miles (of Montana’s 147,164) with an estimated population of 1,268, which equals an astonishing .261 people per square mile.  For comparison’s sake, the state of Connecticut has a land size of 4,858 square miles, with a population density of approximately 738 people per square mile.

Thanks for your participation.  Stay tuned for future posts about the “Last Best Place” of Montana.

30 thoughts on “Big Sky Treasures

        • Julie, thanks for the update. I went to college in Bozeman at Montana State University, and my youngest daughter and her husband live their. While I haven’t been to Twin Bridges, I have be in the area (Ennis and Virginia City). Have a great week!

          Liked by 1 person

    • Brrr! That is Arctic cold. I hope there wasn’t much of a wind chill. I’ve only experienced air temperatures of about -30 when I was living in eastern Montana, but some wind chills went down to -40 to -50.


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