In the spring of 1870, General Charles T. Campbell established a stagecoach stop for the Firesteel Trail. This stop, which included his residence, an inn, a general store and a large horse barn became the original town of Scotland. Campbell, along with about 100 families of Scottish and English ancestry, located this stop on a flat area beside Dawson Creek, about a half-mile southeast of our Chalk Rock Museum. In 1879, Campbell encouraged his friend, Alexander Mitchell, to build a railroad line through Scotland from Marion Junction, which was located northeast of here.
When the railroad arrived in 1880, the town moved “upland” to meet it onto land owned by John Stafford, who deeded the land to the railroad and platted 80 acres for the new town. With the railroad spurring new growth, other additions were platted by Philip Becker, Johanna, Bertha and Sarah Korb, John D. Lawler and Abel Stafford. By 1884, Scotland’s population was up to 1200 with railroad service connecting it to the east and south. By 1891, the population had risen to 1500, but was beginning to feel the effects of new homesteading in Charles Mix County and other points to the west.
Scotland remained a strong business town through both World Wars and the Great Depression, the Saturday and Sunday nights being excessively active nights – the theater held 400 and would have two showings to sold-out houses, while the stores and cafes stayed open until midnight to accommodate the crowds.
While the advent of reliable automobiles and a less agricultural economy have caused Scotland to become smaller in population, it remains a town with a big heart. With a thriving Main Street, excellent medical facilities, strong schools, active churches and civic organizations, there is always something going on!
(C) Scotland Chamber of Commerce