Red Lodge (pop. 2,455, elev. 5,555 feet) is supposedly named for red clay–decorated Crow lodges. Once part of the Crow Reservation, this area was taken from the Indians in 1882; coal mining commenced a few years later. The mines became the basis for the town, and many immigrants came to work in Red Lodge; Finns were particularly well-represented. Mining dropped off in the 1930s, and an explosion at the nearby Smith Creek Mine in 1943 halted large-scale coal mining in the area.
Red Lodge is now a resort and jumping-off point for travelers on the Beartooth Highway and is also visited by many Montanans for its good spring skiing.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition