Glasgow was one of the bigger surprises I had on the Hi-Line. Living way over in Kalispell, truth be told, I had never heard many – actually any – good things about Glasgow. Granted, what little I had heard came from people who drove through it now and the - none of them lived there. So when I first entered Glasgow in June of 2004 I was “braced” for the worst.
Instead, what I found was a nice little town. True, Glasgow, just like other towns in the Hi-Line, has been battling the consolidation of the agriculture industry that has led to some population decline. Glasgow also had to adjust following the end of the construction boom when Fort Peck Dam was finished in the late 1930's. Additionally, Glasgow also had to battle the loss of a major air force base after World War II that housed up to 10,000 people during the peak period.
However, Glasgow seems to have had success in partially offsetting these staggering losses by attracting some new businesses into town. While there are some empty storefronts here and there, the town itself was hardly a ghost town like people had been describing it. Although Glasgow has lost some agricultural jobs over the past few decades, new jobs in various federal government agencies, railroad jobs on the BNSF, and health care jobs have provided a small, but relatively diverse, base of employment in Glasgow - and have somewhat mitigated the effects of the loss of population.
Glasgow is the county seat of Valley County, a county that has been hard hit in particular by the consolidation of the agricultural industry. The population of Glasgow is a small, but respectable, 3200 people. Thus, while it is small, Glasgow is still one of the larger towns on the Hi-Line.
Glasgow is a very functional little town. While it does not have any sort of big “box store”, all of the little shops in town do provide all of basic needs a person could have. It also has a decent movie theatre in town, similar to other Hi-Line towns. Moreover, the downtown area was quite clean, well-kept up and, in general, just plain nice.
The mountains are a very long ways away from Glasgow. However, while Glasgow may not have any mountains, the town is located very close to Fort Peck Lake. Fort Peck Lake can have some great fishing for walleye. As such, during the peak periods of walleye fishing, the town can really get hopping. Glasgow is also located in an excellent area for upland bird and deer hunting, too.
The visitor who first drives through Glasgow, truthfully, is likely to be disappointed. Indeed, you may not even see the downtown area. The reason for this is that US Highway 2 is located on the north side of the railroad tracks. This part of Glasgow contains all the usual suspects you would expect to find on a busy highway, such as fast food, hotels and some small retail outlets. The downtown of Glasgow itself is located on the south side of the railroad tracks, not on US Highway 2 itself. To gain access to the town, just follow the signs that point towards downtown, taking you under the railroad tracks in the process.
See more Pictures of Glasgow, Montana in our Hi-Line photo gallery.
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