About the Sand Springs General Store and Café
It was the "Walmart" of its time! Western Garfield County Montana has relied on the Sand Springs Store for 111 years!!
The original Sand Springs Store was built in 1912 when Fred E. Allen established the store. In 1920 Mrs. E.A. Donaldson began working there, and Carlos “Carl” Whittle bought the store in 1924. In 1940 Carlos Whittle sold it to Mr. and Mrs Harold Neiter. In 1948 Charles Stone bought the store from the Neiters.
In 1956 Joseph “Joe” and Daisy (Krieder) Dutton bought the old store and in 1957 a new building and home was built. Saturday, Dec 14th, 1957, was the Grand Opening, a day and two years before the current owners birth!
The Dutton and Krieder families are still here, and their ranches surround the current property.
During this period, Mrs. Chuck Rich and Miss Donna Mosby worked in the store. In 1960, the first phones were installed. During the ‘60’s and into the ‘70’s Pilot Joe Dutton operated the Flight Base Operation on the airfield behind the store, offering fuel, instruction, and plane rentals.
In 1970 the last of seven annual Free Barbeques promoting agricultural products was held at the store. In 1971 the Barbeque was moved to the CharAngus Ranch Picnic grounds nearby.
In January of 1972, the snow was so bad the plow couldn’t get through on the highway, stranding several motorists at the store for hours, with the John Robertson family spending the night with the Dutton’s!
In June of 1992 Sand Springs and Garfield County was devastated by the loss of Joe Dutton by a sudden stroke. The future of the store was uncertain. Daisy Dutton continued to run the store with the help of postmistress Karmie Lockie. In 2017 the store was a lifeline during and after the Lodgepole Complex Fire. The legacy of these pioneer ranch families will continue to be felt for generations to come!
The Sand Springs Store store has continued to operate under different owners/managers for the last six years, and to this day, has never been closed! The Sand Springs Store is a historical success story on the Montana Prairie!