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Posts Tagged ‘Alberton MT’

Alberton, Montana

Posted by graywacke on January 24, 2009

There’s a first time for everything, including visiting “A Landing A Day.”  To figure out what’s going on, check out “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  Well, after my four USers in a row, a minor (hopefully) glitch, as I landed in my second WBer in a row.  Although I just missed ID by a few miles, I landed in my number-one nemesis . . . MT; 99/78; 4/10; 4; 166.1.  Check it out – MT is ony one hit away from 100!!  Texas only has 110 hits, and Texas is 82% bigger!!  You can see how far out of whack these two states are.  MT should have 78 hits and TX should have 143.  Oh, well . . .

So, I landed on the banks of the Clark Fork (14th hit), which flows to the Pend Oreille (15th hit), on to the Columbia.  I landed near the town of Alberton (pop 374), right along I-90.  Here’s a map showing my landing:


And here’s a broader view:


Here’s an aerial shot of the town:


From the town’s website:


When the Milwaukee railroad established its trans-continental line to the Pacific coast, Albert J. Earling chose the route on the north side of the river.  The Milwaukee railroad had determined that a train station was needed to service the steam engines that were being used at that time and the location of Alberton was selected.  Land for the railroad yards and town was bought from Henry & Catherine Brown who had homesteaded it in 1891. 

The Milwaukee railroad was built in 1908-09.  The name of the town at that time was Browntown.  It was then changed to Alberton, after both Alexander Albert (one of first settlers in this valley) and the aforementioned Albert Earling.
 Alberton is known as the gateway to the Alberton Gorge, favored by whitewater rafters, kayakers, and avid anglers.
This small town offers a nice break from interstate travel. Stop by and stay for a visit.

Note that they mentioned the railroad running on the north side of the river.  Today, it’s on the south side.  However, there is a “Railroad Avenue” in town (on the north side), that probably ran along the erstwhile rail line.

So, back in 1996, there was a nasty train derailment that probably made national news (although I must confess to not remembering this).  Anyway, from a local rag just after it happened:

Sometime between 4:00 and 4:15am, on Thursday morning, April 11, 1996, a 72-car train derailment occurred 1 mile west of Alberton, Montana.  Four tanker cars containing chlorine derailed and at least one pressurized chlorine tanker ruptured.  A dangerous plume of chlorine gas wafted across the Clark Fork river over Interstate 90 and into local residences.  I-90 remains closed.

At least one person died, and over 352 people have been hospitalized. Some patients remain in critical and serious condition. Approximately 1000 people were forced to flee their homes and have been evacuated from an 8 to 12 square mile zone.

People exposed to the toxic chemical fumes reported a number of health effects:  burning eyes and nose, lung irritation and inflammation, sore throats, difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing up yellow or green sputum, nose bleeds, coughing up blood, headaches and dizziness, and other symptoms or reactions including, depression, lack of motor skills, hopelessness, and anxiety. Exposed animals and livestock also developed reactions: including eye lesions, difficulty breathing, wheezing, indicative of lung irritation.

Do you think they listed all of the symptoms?  Depression & hopelessness?  Anxiety?  I wonder if those are specific reactions to chlorine gas.  Anyway, here’s a picture:


Moving along to more positive things.  Here’s where I’d gas up if I were in Alberton!! 


And here’s a lovely railroad picture,  just across the river from Alberton:





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