Centennial Valley Center
Lakeview, Montana
Conservation Education and Research for a Healthy Earth

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Centennial Valley History

Centennial Valley Historical Society


Nestled between the Centennial Mountains and the Red Rock Lakes, a remote town named Shambow sprang up against this majestic backdrop.  Levi Shambow and his family arrived in 1888 and homesteaded near a creek named after themselves which still bears that name today--Shambow Creek.  Mail was delivered to Shambow Post Office and Levi served as postmaster from 1889-1890.  In 1892, the town was renamed Magdalen with Emma and Gene Williams and Herman Fisher serving as postmasters.  In 1897, the town was renamed Lakeview.

Businesses joined the cattle and sheep ranching community and E. A. Bailey started the first general merchandise store.  Sam Burnside opened the first cafe and there was a large mercantile store named Miller and Pike.  Clarence and Gilbert Hunt ran a blacksmith shop and also maintained the Monida-Yellowstone stage horses.  Sam Burnside also owned the saloon and the Lakeview Hotel, which catered to locals and visitors. Meals at the Lakeview were $.75.

The Monida-Yellowstone Stage Line, also known as the M-Y, kept the businesses busy throughout the summer and fall.  Depending on the weather and road conditions, the M-Y ran from June 1898 to September, 1912.  The M-Y route took passengers from Monida through the Centennial to Yellowstone Park.

In November 1889, Lakeview citizens donated enough money to build a school.  A log school was erected and Miss Millie Coffin was hired a class of 18 students, grades 1-8.  The school burned down in 1912 and a new school was built in 1921. In 1968, the school closed for good.  The restored school building still stands today.

The Red Rocks Lake Wildlife Refuge(RRLWR) was established 1935 to save the endangered trumpeter swan.  The Works Progress Administration(WPA) constructed the refuge buildings, fire tower, and fences.  Large parcels of land were purchased during the Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration which added to the RRLWR acreage.

The Wayne Montgomery family moved to Lakeview in the 1950's to raise cattle and sheep.  Their ranch was self sufficient and operated year round.  When the cattle ranch was sold, the Montgomery's operated a winter guest resort which catered to snowmobilers.

In the early 1970's, the guest resort was sold to the Keith Rush family and became the Lakeview Guest Ranch.  The ranch offered guided hunts, snowmobiling and other guest services.

In 2006, Lakeview was purchased, completely renovated over five years, and is now owned by the Conservation Endowment Fund and managed by the International Center for Earth Concerns(ICEC) as the Centennial Valley Center(CVC).

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