Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
Agricultural College at Miles City
The Montana State Agricultural College at Bozeman was established by an act of the 1893 state legislature, but we wonder how many of our readers are aware of the fact that Miles City was an aspirant for the site of the college. Custer County's delegation in that session consisted of Reno Swift, whose residence was Ekalaka, as state senator, and L. A. Huffman and J. R. McKay, both of Miles City, as members of the lower house.

Early in the session, Mr. Hurfman gave notice that he would introduce a bill for the location of the agricultural college at Miles City. This was the year that the locations of the different units of the university system were determined, as well as of other state institutions. Montana was a young state, having gained her statehood in 1889, and much was to be done in the matter of state government. As usual, under the circumstances, there were many aspirants for the different institutions, both educational and otherwise.

Missoula wanted all the units of the educational system allocated at the Garden City, while Butte was an aspirant for the School of Mines; Livingston and Dillon were both after the Normal School, while Bozeman, Miles City and Great Falls were all in the field for the agricultural college. Billings wanted the penitentiary. Here in Miles City, the Chamber of Commerce was very active in the promotion of Miles City as the logical site for the college. Many meetings were held, and much was done to promote our town for the location of that unit. At one of these meetings, Representative Huffman was present and addressed the meeting. In his remarks, he did not claim that Miles City had a sure thing of getting the college, but felt that it had the best chance--that the special exhibits from Miles City at the last two state fairs had created a favorable impression and that other local conditions were in favor of the location of the college here. One of the statements made during the campaign was that Bozeman tried to make a point of superior adaptability for the school over Miles City because of her altitude of 5,000 compared with 2,000 at Miles City. However, on this basis, Miles City contended that the Yellowstone valley offered the largest agricultural area in the state, and should the college be located at Bozeman, the growing of corn, tomatoes, melons, tobacco and a host of other products, all of which could be profitably grown here, would be excluded from the experiments made by the college were it located at Bozeman at the higher altitude, where the growing season was so much shorter.

Bozeman won in the bill on the Senate, Miles City's only vote being cast by Custer County's Senator Reno Swift. We were unable to find a record of the vote in the house, but we know that Bozeman won and won handily. Much was said in the local press concerning our efforts to have the college located here. It seems that during the campaign for the location of the state capital in the fall of 1892, some Bozeman folks who were out trying to get the capital located at the Gallatin county city, openly wore badges inscribed "Miles City for the Agricultural College" and decorated their advertisements with ears of corn and other products foreign to Bozeman. In that race for the state capital, Bozeman carried Custer County by a large majority, receiving 760 votes as against 451 for Helena, 51 for Great Falls, 16 for Anaconda, 7 for Butte and 5 for Boulder. So, in the matter of the selection of a site for the college, some folks were under the hope that Bozeman would not be a candidate against Miles City, but would throw its support to us. An editorial in the Journal anent the race for state capital the fall before and appearing after the settlement of the site for the state college stated: "Bozeman was no more in the race than Boulder. The work of the emissaries in this community, however, served a double purpose--first, by helping them to a halfway respectable position in the capital race, and second, by depriving Miles City of the support of Lewis and Clark's delegation in the legislature this winter, with which we would have been strong enough to be in the combine and would have in all probability beaten Bozeman for the college."