Montana’s Liberty County is in the middle of the northern region of the state and was established in 1920. The only incorporated town in the county is Chester, which serves as the County Seat.
Liberty County covers a land area of almost 1,500 square miles, and the main industry that supports the economy of the region is agriculture, particularly by way of wheat and barley crops. The rural area is surrounded by the Sweetgrass Hills towards the north, which reach elevations as high as 7000 feet in some areas.
The Continental Divide is just 150 miles west of the community, which can be accessed by US Highway 2. The area is also serviced by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, by which much of the grain produced in liberty counted is transported. There is an airport in Liberty County located to the west of Chester, although no commercial flights are operated from here. This makes the nearest commercial airport in the region the Great Falls International Airport, which is 90 miles south of Chester.
The northern town of Chester itself has much to offer in terms of recreation. With its elevation of over 3,000 feet, the town has the scenic Lake Elwell and Tiber Dam nearby which provide an array of outdoor activities. The culture and history of Liberty County is represented in the town by way of both the local museum and the arts center.
Visit the Liberty County Government website.
Special Events in Liberty County
June – Summer Fair
September – Blues & Brews Festival
October – Food Truck festival
December – Christmas Stroll
December – Christmas Parade
Main Attractions in Liberty County
The Liberty County Museum
The Liberty County Museum in Chester contains exhibits related to the Homesteading early days of the area. It is located 3 blocks away from the US Highway 2 in Chester, which was at one time a stop-off point for the nearest railroad shipyard in North Dakota. The entire town had to relocate across to the south side of the tracks when the Great Northern Railroad arrived in 1907, due to an existing kink in the rails that had to be straightened out.
The Liberty County Museum features various displays and exhibits of artifacts from around that time, including items from a general store and a schoolhouse. You can also see Native American artifacts along with farming, ranching, and railroad equipment in the museum, which has no admission charges.
The Tiber Dam
Tiber Dam is located in the southwestern part of the county and is one of the recreational attraction points of the area. The body of water produced as a result of the dam is called Lake Elwell, which has a 180-mile shoreline and contains various boat ramps and campsites within its vicinity.
The dam and lake were originally made for agricultural irrigation purposes, but these days the spot is rife with water-based activities like boating and fishing, especially for pike and walleye, and the Marias River that flows downstream of the dam is something of a prime spot for trout anglers.
Liberty Village Art Center
Chester is again the location of this Liberty County attraction, which showcases various art exhibits and workshops from both local and national artists. Some of the original and unique work on show and for sale includes sculptures made from metal, paper, pottery, and even wheat, and paintings, photographs, and jewelry items are also featured.
The center plays an important role in the support of not only the local arts scene, but also provides incentives from students from elementary to high school level by offering awards for their exhibits. The center opens year-round between Tuesday and Friday under normal operating conditions.
The Sweetgrass Hills
Although the name might be somewhat misleading, the Sweetgrass Hills is actually a mountain range. Not only that, but these isolated peaks of volcanic origin are some of the highest in the entire country, at close to 7,000 feet.
The hills featured in the observations of intrepid discoverers Lewis and Clark, and they attracted prospectors during Montana’s gold rush years in the late 1800s. The hills originally formed part of a Blackfoot Indian Reservation and were used as something of a lookout point for possible territorial encroachers and also for hunting purposes.