The Ferry - Historical Information of the City of Troy, Montana1895 - 1913
Before 1890 early transportation systems for the Troy area consisted mainly of Indian trails along the Kootenai River and other major river drainages.
The Libby Dam was not built at this time and water levels periodically rose to high levels, especially during the spring.
Early 1895 men were employed to construct a trail from Troy to Sylvanite. At the same time, a ferry was under construction to cross the Kootenai River at Troy. And by August of 1895 all the work on the new ferry was completed.
The Troy Ferry was originally constructed and maintained by the Troy Townsite Company
(Incorporated in 1895 as the Troy Mining, Power and Development Company).
It was later sold on February 6, 1904 to George Moore and Alfred Swesey for $375.00. They owned and operated the ferry until February 14, 1910, when they sold it to the U.S. Forest Service for $250.00.
Then an accident happened to the ferry in the last few days of May 1910.
As reported in the Troy Herald on June 3, 1910:
The County Ferry Goes on a Log Voyage
The Troy ferryboat has gone hence, and it is very possible that it will never see these parts again. Tuesday evening a returning pedestrian from Sylvanite, whose intentions were probably all right but with a knowledge bordering on foolhardiness, arrived at the landing on the north shore where the boat was anchored. The ferryman was up on town upon an errand and the wayfarer must have been in an awful hurry, for he cast the boat adrift and jumped on for the run across. The swift water caught the boat broadside, tore loose the cable fastenings on the Troy side and away went the navigator and boat down the Kootenai River. He yelled like a Comanche Indian as he swept along, but fortunately the boat temporarily caught on some branches and he clambered out. His craft however, went on down the stream and is probably well up into British Columbia by this time, as it passed Leonia a couple of hours later with a full head of steam and apparently trying to break some speed records.
What became of the impromptu ferryman after he reached shore is not definitely known, but about an hour later a stranger was crossed in the Waters rowboat a mile up the river, who is believed to be the one who played a star part but a short time before. But as he failed to register in town, or exploit his adventure to the public, he is probably as far away as the derelict craft.
The accident could not well have happened at a more inopportune time, as there are some heavy supplies to be taken to the Yahk and this was the only means of transportation to the camp. A new boat can be built, but a more difficult matter will be replacing of the cable into position, and for the time being wagon traffic will necessarily be delayed.
A new cable was stretched and using the old Waters scow, a temporary ferry service was in place a couple weeks afterwards.
A new ferry boat was completed in July 1910.
Due to the growing area and it's needs, the need to replace the ferry with a bridge was recognized as early as October 1910.
A new bridge was completed by early 1913, and the old Troy Ferry was discontinued after 18 years of serving the Troy community.
Today the ferry is a mere footnote in Troy's historic past, but it did play an important part in the early development of both Troy and the Yaak River Valley.
The information for this was obtained from Jim Calvi's Troy Heritage Series number 1.
In cooperation with Mr. J. Calvi.