Woosley Rodeo circa 1920
YGM 2006.044.2202
Photo property of Yellowstone Gateway Museum of Park County
Image may not be copied, scanned, digitized or reused in any way.

Sedan is a unique ranching community northeast of Bozeman at the base of the majestic Bridger Mountains. The number of residents who currently call Sedan home fluctuates, however, several hundreds have called this area home in times past. This website has been created to preserve the stories of the people who have enriched this fine community.

The name of our community was suggested by one of the first settlers, Josie (Maddox) Woosley in 1891. After arriving here as homesteaders from Kansas in covered wagons, Josie and her family named the post office after the county seat the Woosleys and Maddoxes left behind.

By September 1, 1895 the Sedan School District #38 was operational and was located near the Josh Woosley home near where the present school building stands and is used for community events.

Many residents came to Sedan as bachelors or with their families and stayed only a short time.  Other residents called Sedan home for many years and even generations.  Current residents, such as Lyle Woosley and his family, are descendants of Sedan’s original settlers and are still ranching and raising their families here today. School records and residents’ recollections indicate that over 250 children attended Sedan School throughout the years.

Sedan School Children 1925 – Adrian Inabnit Photo Collection

Sedan School 1935-36 – Harold Hunter Photo Collection

In earlier times Sedan was predominately a dairy community with its own Cheese Factory. As one former teacher and resident, Eva Lachenmaier noted, “Many large milking barns could be seen around the community.”

The Cheese Factory 1918 – Adrian Inabnit Photo Collection

Sedan was never really a town, but there were many farmers and ranchers who worked 160 acres each. Sedan is currently cattle country although several attempts have been made over the years to farm in Sedan. Barley and winter wheat crops did not do well. However, during the 20s and 30s” good crops of rye,” were produced by Uncle Wade,” according to former resident Adrian Inabnit. A photo in the Inabnit collection attests to this showing corn and that Wade Inabnit grew on the “Pass Road” officially named Flathead Pass Road.

Along with The Cheese Factory and Sedan School (which consisted of 3 different buildings throughout the years), Sedan also supported a teacherage, post office, store, two cemeteries, a church, and various sawmills. 

Sedan Store, Post Office & Gas Station 1936 – Adrian Inabnit Photo Collection – Edith Christie holding Adrian Inabnit

The community of Sedan was said to also have been supported by some sheep-raising in years past.  Other photo collections show that residents raised turkey, ducks, hogs, and chickens in addition to horse and cattle.

Inabnit Place Barnyard – Adrian Inabnit Photo Collection

Sedan is located at the base of the Bridger Mountains below Flathead Pass.  Flathead Indians were said to have come west over the north end of the Bridger Mountains to hunt “thus the names of Flathead Pass and Flathead Creek.” First known as “over in the Flathead” to distinguish it from the Flathead Lake area, according to the Sedan Community Country Cookbook (1989).  

In A History of Park County Rural Schools 1877- 1990 Warren Reichman, former resident and descendent of Maddoxes and Woosleys, when interviewed described Sedan as, “Up toward the northeast corner of Gallatin County tucked away in the Bridger Range of mountains, is a small valley measuring roughly ten miles north-to-south and ten miles east-to-west. Scenic and productive, this valley is drained by ten small streams which join to form Flathead Creek. This creek eventually empties into the Shields River near Wilsall in Park County

The ten small creeks Reichman notes above are: Frazier Creek, Ainger Creek, Carroll Creek (which is also noted on various maps as Middle Fork of Flathead and Kelly Creek), Cache Creek, Fairy Creek, South Fork of Flathead, Green Canyon Creek, Dry Creek, and Muddy Creek. 

In Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley: A History (1996) Smith states, “The stepchild community of Sedan, located east of Flathead Pass, has threatened to secede from Gallatin County from time to time. Its fortunes seem more closely linked with Livingston and Park County; even its creek waters drain east into the Shields River.”  The Shields River is a tributary of the Yellowstone River.

In earlier years while discussing attempts to get road work done by the county, Warren Reichman wrote, “When our forefathers were designing Montana counties, they should have put this (Shields) valley in Park County (Sedan is about 3 miles from the Park County border). It is bounded on the west by the rugged and impassable peaks of Bridger Mountains. These dwindle down to Elkhorn Ridge, stretching across the northern side of the valley to Shields River. On the south side of the valley is Battle Ridge, a 7500-foot-high spur of the Bridgers. These mountains effectively isolated the little valley from the rest of Gallatin County for many years.”

Stepchild community, or not, welcome to Sedan, Montana…

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is seitz-richardson-sally-photo-collection-12-fencing-at-the-wilson-place04082018-1.jpg
Fencing at the Wilson Place Alfred Wilson Standing – Sally (Seitz) Richardson Photo Collection