Fortine, it might be said, is Trego’s big (not older) sister, insofar as Fortine shares its cemetery, volunteer fire department, and mercantile store with Trego, which is a mere four miles distant.
Fortine was also born as a result of the Great Northern RR building tracks through the country in 1905. It has been suggested that their names were reversed when the railroad accidentally misprinted the timetables and decided it was cheaper and easier to reverse the names of the towns, which didn’t even exist until the railroad named them anyway. This theory seems to make sense when one realizes that the Octave Fortin homestead (the railroad added the e) was within sight of the Trego depot.
For some reason, Fortine caught on quicker than its little sister. In its heyday, Fortine had three hotels (two with saloons), a drug store, two mercantile stores, school, post office and eventually a church. Early movers and shakers organized a water company and an amusement company. Not only did the Fortine Amusement Company build a dance hall, but (oddly) it was the umbrella company for the cemetery district.
Today Fortine can claim a golf course, two bars, a restaurant, three sandwich/hamburger establishments, and a large antique store that was once an iconic mercantile store.
Within a stone’s throw of Fortine is a large hay and cattle ranch that’s been operated by a succession of owners for nearly 125 years. Also, of note, is the nearby Chrystal Lakes facility which includes a private golf course and airstrip, a vintage aircraft museum, and a life-size replica of Stonehenge.
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