Cat Creek Montana

County: Petroleum

Cat Creek, near Dovetail, was a "raw, roaring oil camp" in the early 1920s. There were tar paper shacks for families and company bunkhouses for single men. There was a company cook house and a recreation hall. Many of the 200-300 men working at Cat Creek were homesteaders who worked to support families left on often impoverished farms.

Cat Creek was the site of Montana's first commercially successful oil strike in 1920. A four-inch pipeline was built to the railroad at Winnett. There were about 150 producing well at the peak. By 1975, thirty-five of them were operating "on pump" and the employment boom was over. It has been estimated that about 23 million barrels of oil have been produced in Cat Creek's 54-year history. (from Cheney's Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company) Not surprisingly, Cat Creek is located in Petroleum County.

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