|Nickname(s): City in the middle of nowhere|
|Motto: home is where the heart is|
|Elevation||4,071 ft (1,241 m)|
|Time zone||Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)|
|• Summer (DST)||MDT (UTC-6)|
|GNIS feature ID||777090|
Rapelje is an unincorporated community farming and ranching community in northern Stillwater County, Montana, United States. Rapelje was named for J. M. Rapelje, general manager and vice president of the Northern Pacific Railway. Rapelje area had a population of approximately 110 people as of the 2000 census. Rapelje is located 24 miles north of Columbus, Montana on Montana Secondary Highway 306.
First of all, Rapelje was named originally called Lake Basin due to its geographical landscape, but in 1913 it was named after J.M. Rapelje, who was one of the heads of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Rapelje was first established as a town where local railroad workers of the Northern Pacific Railway would live in the late 1800s. As more and more people began to work at the railroad, the town grew bigger in both size and population. They had multiple attractions such as a hotel, a grocery store, a town hall, a K-12 school, and many other things. A post office was established in 1913, and the four grain towers (which are still there today) were put in business. A railroad destination point, Rapelje developed into a reasonable town with a number of grain elevators, its own school district, an evangelical church, a cafe, and later on a violin shop and clothing business. In 1980, the railroad was taken out of Rapelje, and the population declined, as well as sales and business. Rapelje had fallen apart in the past few decades. The hotel burned down, the town hall was removed, the grocery store closed, and the murder of a wife and son occurred. However, some people stuck around and tried their hardest to keep the little town running. They relied on agriculture to keep the town alive, as well as the school and the sports they provided.
Rapelje School is one of the smallest schools in the Stillwater County with around 40 students. They used to be "The Rapelje Rockets", but due to the decreasing population, they joined athletics with the nearby town of Reed Point and changed their sports to "The Rapelje-Reedpoint Renegades".
Rapelje is a "country" town, so their traditions are more rural. They used to have a bar called the "White Elephant" which was the main hangout place. They would frequently host dances.
24 Hours of Rapelje
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- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Montana Railroad History
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Covers Census Block 9662, Blocks 1023, 1055-1064, 1067-1067, and 1071-1072, See "Detailed Table - American Factfinder". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
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- Climate Summary for Rapelje, Montana