While scouting for just the right southwest Montana real estate on which to grow malting barley, Henry Altenbrand and several NY businessmen decided in 1890 that the land around Moreland, Montana, 20 miles northwest of Bozeman, would suffice.
Thus, In 1891, these Gallatin Valley entrepreneurs renamed this other Montana town near the headwaters of the Missouri River, “Manhattan” (latitude 45.86 N, longitude 111.33 W, elevation, 4,243 feet), making it the center of their operations.
These early Montana businessmen created the Manhattan Malting Company, composed of 13,000 acres of Gallatin Valley Montana land dedicated to barley production. They then invested money to create the West Gallatin Irrigation Company, which purchased 28,000 Northern Pacific grant lands.
The town of Manhattan, 10 miles west of Belgrade, MT and 12 miles east of Three Forks, MT, was platted with the malting industry in mind and included grain elevators and a malting house. Though some malt stayed in Montana for local brewers, most of Manhattan’s malt was sent to the United States’ east coast by train.
Manhattan Montana’s barley and irrigation operation’s labor mostly came from the Netherlands,and by 1893 a sufficient supply of Dutch had settled in the region to sustain this new, water intensive industry.
The labor for the barley and irrigation operations mostly came from the Netherlands and by 1893 a sufficient supply of Dutch had settled in this region of southwest Montana to sustain this new, water intensive industry. With the creation of a Montana railroad spur and an overflow of Dutch settlers in Manhattan, Montana, the town of Amsterdam, Montana, also mostly composed of Dutch settlers, formed in 1911 with many Montana homes built on the rolling hills a few miles to the south.
To this day, Amsterdam, MT has never been incorporated and, thus, still receives its mail via the Manhattan, Montana zip code 59741, as does Churchill, MT. In 1950 seed potato farming began and in the ensuing years it has grown to be recognized as one of Manhattan’s major agricultural products.
Local seed farmers sell their potatoes locally and nationally, making Manhattan, Amsterdam, and Churchill, Montana the potato capital of Montana. Today, pototoes, dairy, wheat, and beef are the surrounding area’s main agricultural products.
Some day Manhattan may also become the home of a fully sustainable “green community,” named Amsterdam Village. Slated for sometime in the future this single family residential development will have building lots, green homes and townhouses, a neighborhood commercial enterprise, and an independent living retirement center. Stay tuned…
This region of SW Montana is home to Montana recreation like world-class fly-fishing, hunting, golfing, horseback-riding, river-rafting, skiing, hiking, sight-seeing, camping, birding, and a host of other sports, recreational, and retirement opportunities.
Manhattan, Montana has retained the small town, ranching aura that has characterized the west for decades. Manhattan welcomes families, is a darling little enclave surrounded by Montana ranch and farm property, open Montana land, and is only about 25 minutes from Bozeman, Montana. Live in Manhattan, work in Bozeman, receive the best of both country and small city life!