Deer Lodge is the county seat of Powell County, Montana, United States. The population was 3,111 as of the 2010 census. Deer Lodge was once an important railroad town, serving as a division headquarters for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (“the Milwaukee Road”) before the railroad’s local abandonment in 1980.
The former Montana State Prison site, at the south end of Deer Lodge’s Main Street, is now the Old Prison Museum. In addition to a former cellblock building, the museum complex includes a theater, antique and automobile museums, and a former Milwaukee Road “Little Joe” electric locomotive. The museum also contains a large car museum housing roughly 100 cars ranging in age from the first cars at the end of the 19th century to the early 1970’s muscle cars.
Deer Lodge is also the location of Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, dedicated to the interpretation of the frontier cattle ranching era. This site was the home of Conrad Kohrs, one of the famous “Cattle Kings” of Montana whose land holdings once stretched over a million acres (4,000 km²) of Montana, Wyoming, and Alberta, Canada. The Grant-Kohrs ranch was built in 1862 by Johnny Grant, a Scottish/French/Metis fur-trader and trapper who encouraged his people to settle in Deer Lodge because of its pleasant climate and large areas of bunch grass prairie, ideal for raising cattle and horses. The city’s name derives from a geological formation known as Warm Springs Mound which contained natural saline that made for a natural salt lick for the local deer population, the protected valley in which Deer Lodge is located was where most of the local wildlife would winter as the temperatures lowered in the high country.
Deer Lodge was also the site of the College of Montana, the first institution of higher learning in the state. The building is now used as storage for the grade schools.
Deer Lodge is known for its great outdoor activities as well. Deer Lodge is only a half hour drive from Discovery Ski Area and Georgetown Lake. Fishing access is available throughout the entire valley along the Clark Fork River and in various smaller streams. The local hunting access is extremely perse with hunting for animals including Big Horn Sheep, Elk, Deer, Antelope and other various big game animals along with smaller varmit animals.
Our production plant, logyard, offices and logging shop can be seen at the edge of town on the right side of the picture above.