Chamber History

A History of Sidney, Montana 

Although Sidney became an incorporated town in 1911, its birthdate goes back to 1888. The story goes that a petition for a post office for the new townsite was being held up until a proper name had been chosen. The name, Eureka, had been sent in before, but there was already an Eureka in the state. Mr. and Mrs. Walters and their six year old son, Sidney, were living in the home of Justice of the Peace, Hiram Otis, at the time. Judge Otis had grown very fond of Sidney, his young fishing partner. While he was making out the papers, he decided, on the spur of the moment, that Sidney would make a good name for the new town.

The election to decide whether Sidney, population 386, should incorporate was held on April 21st, 1911, resulting in 55 votes for and one vote against incorporating. Election of a town council was held on June 2nd, resulting in electing Thomas Gardner, banker, as the new mayor. Edgar A. Kenoyer, A. D. Ferris, John Carey, George Carpenter, and Ben Mercer were the new aldermen. L.H. (Jack) Turner was appointed clerk and assessor for the town. June 12, 1911, was the date of their first council meeting. Appointments of interest were: John Smith, ex-Indian fighter from Ft. Buford, as treasurer and tax collector; A. D. Ferris as secretary, and Jack Carberry as city marshall. Ordinance number one was adopted, stating that saloons be restricted to not more than two in the town of Sidney.  

Excerpt from “The Municipal Story” by Mary Hammes Mercer, Our Jubilee 

A History of Sidney Area Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture

Sixteen Sidney business men met on April 10, 1908 and on that evening the Sidney Commercial Club was born. WK Adams was elected to the first presidency and Augustus Vaux as the first Secretary. 

By 1911 there were more than fifty members and the club was actively engaged in getting a railroad, more rail routes, and the establishment of a new county. It was largely through their efforts that Richland County was sub-divided from Dawson County on May 16, 1914. The February 22, 1915 minutes reveal an attempt to change the name to Sidney Agricultural and Industrial Association, which was voted down. However the by-laws for the proposed club were adopted. 1916 also saw the birth of the Sidney Street Fair which was to later become the biggest county fair in the area.  

At a meeting in the Masonic Hall on February 28, 1916, the Commercial Club became the Sidney Chamber of Commerce with S.F. Donaldson the first President of the new organization.

Excerpt from "The History of Sidney Chamber of Commerce” by Kenneth Chapman, Our Jubilee