U.S. Highway 212 enters Montana from South Dakota in Carter County at the state’s southeast corner. U.S. 212 in this part of the state is a flat, fast ride. You typically meet little other traffic except for trucks using the highway as a cut-off from Billings to the Black
Hills. Traveler accounts from today typically say nothing about this section of the state, save, perhaps, for the Stoneville Saloon in Alzada, really the only serious watering hole for miles around, with its inviting false front–“cheap drinks”–capturing your attention.
But if you slow down a bit, you can find three country schools, with all three being good examples of the types of Montana rural schools that the National Trust for Historic Preservation called attention to in 2012.
Alzada’s school is the largest, with its bracketed hipped roof recalling the schoolhouse style so common in the United States from 1910 to 1940. It is located a few hundred yards off of the highway, a place that is still the heart of the community.
Nor can you miss the Boyles school, now closed, like pretty much everything else in this hamlet at the western end of Carter County. This school is a classic example of the one-room schools of the homesteading era. Like the other two schools, it faces south, with its band of windows facing east, better to capture as much sunlight as possible since it was built in the era before electricity served this section of Montana.
Three small places–three small schools, important parts of Carter County history that you can still explore today.,