Powder River County, Montana

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Powder River County, Montana
Broadus MT Powder River County Courthouse.jpg
Powder River Courthouse in Broadus
Map of Montana highlighting Powder River County
Location in the state of Montana
Map of the United States highlighting Montana
Montana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1919[1]
Named for Powder River
Seat Broadus
Largest town Broadus
 • Total 3,298 sq mi (8,542 km2)
 • Land 3,297 sq mi (8,539 km2)
 • Water 0.6 sq mi (2 km2), 0.02%
 • (2010) 1,743
 • Density 0.5/sq mi (0/km²)
Congressional district At-large
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Website www.prco.mt.gov

Powder River County is a county located in the U.S. state of Montana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,743.[2] Its county seat is Broadus.[3]


Present day Powder River County was probably first entered by European's in the early 1800s by French fur trappers. In the summer of 1865, the United States government sent over 2,600 U.S. soldiers to the Powder River Country to combat Native Americans from the Cheyenne, Lakota Sioux, and Arapaho tribes. The column became known as the Powder River Expedition. On September 8, 1865, in present day Powder River County, it engaged in the Battle of Dry Ford, about 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of the future site of Broadus.[4] On March 17, 1876, the Battle of Powder River occurred in the south-central part of the county, about 34 miles (55 km) southwest of Broadus.[5] On November 1, 1878, Powderville became the first establishment in the county, as the Powder River Telegraph Station, on the Fort Keogh to Deadwood, South Dakota telegraph line.[6] On April 5, 1879, the Mizpah Creek Incidents began near the Powderville telegraph station in the extreme northern part of the county. In the early 1880s, a large area of Southeastern Montana became Custer County, Montana, including the present area encompassed by Powder River County. In February, 1900, the Broadus post office was established, named after the Broaddus family. In October, 1918, publication of the newspaper, the Broadus Independent, (now called the Powder River Examiner) began in Broadus, and is still published today. In 1919, Powder River County, Montana was formed from southern Custer County, and in an election in 1920, Broadus was chosen as the county seat of the newly established Powder River County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,298 square miles (8,540 km2), of which 3,297 square miles (8,540 km2) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) (0.02%) is water.[7]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 3,357
1930 3,909 16.4%
1940 3,159 −19.2%
1950 2,693 −14.8%
1960 2,485 −7.7%
1970 2,862 15.2%
1980 2,520 −11.9%
1990 2,090 −17.1%
2000 1,858 −11.1%
2010 1,743 −6.2%
Est. 2014 1,783 [8] 2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2013[2]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 1,858 people, 737 households, and 524 families residing in the county. The population density was <1/km² (<1/sq mi). There were 1,007 housing units at an average density of <1/km² (<1/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 97.42% White, 1.78% Native American, 0.11% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 33.2% were of German, 13.8% English, 10.7% Irish and 5.9% Norwegian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 737 households out of which 30.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.90% were married couples living together, 4.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.80% were non-families. 24.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.60% under the age of 18, 4.80% from 18 to 24, 23.30% from 25 to 44, 26.80% from 45 to 64, and 18.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 97.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,398, and the median income for a family was $34,671. Males had a median income of $23,971 versus $17,411 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,351. About 9.90% of families and 12.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.70% of those under age 18 and 16.30% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated place[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Powder River County official website
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Wagner, David E. (2009). Powder River Odyssey: Nelson Cole's Western Campaign of 1865, The Journals of Lyman G. Bennett and Other Eyewitness Accounts. The Arthur H. Clark Company. 
  5. ^ Vaughn, J.W. (1961). The Reynolds Campaign on Powder River. University of Oklahoma Press. 
  6. ^ Powderville: A Personal History. 
  7. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

Coordinates: 45°23′N 105°38′W / 45.38°N 105.64°W / 45.38; -105.64