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Libby, Montana

Libby, Montana
Location of Libby, Montana
Coordinates: 48°23′17″N 115°33′13″W / 48.38806, -115.55361
Country United States
State Montana
County Lincoln
 - Total 1.3 sq mi (3.3 km²)
 - Land 1.3 sq mi (3.3 km²)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km²)
Elevation 2,096 ft (639 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 2,626
 - Density 2,061.9/sq mi (796.1/km²)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 59923
Area code(s) 406
FIPS code 30-43450
GNIS feature ID 0786083

Libby is a city in Lincoln County, Montana, United States. The population was 2,626 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Lincoln CountyGR6.



Libby is located at 48°23′17″N, 115°33′13″W (48.388128, -115.553707)GR1, along U.S. Highway 2. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.3 square miles (3.3 km²), all of it land. Located in the Kootenai National Forest, between the Cabinet Mountains to the south and the Purcell Mountains to the north. The town lies in the heart of the Kootenai Valley along the Kootenai River, and downstream from the Libby Dam. Libby is at an elevation of 2096 feet (639 m).


As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 2,626 people, 1,132 households, and 669 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,061.9 people per square mile (798.3/km²). There were 1,264 housing units at an average density of 992.5/sq mi (384.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.51% White, 0.15% African American, 1.26% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.53% from other races, and 1.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.22% of the population.

There were 1,132 households out of which 25.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.6% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.9% were non-families. 36.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 22.2% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 22.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,276, and the median income for a family was $29,615. Males had a median income of $30,174 versus $19,675 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,090. About 10.0% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.9% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over.


Libby's economy has largely been supported by the use of natural resources, such as logging and mining.

Zonolite and asbestos

Vermiculite, an ore found in the area in 1881, had been mined in the area since 1919.[1][2] In 1919, E.N. Alley bought the Rainy Creek claims and started the Zonolite Company. Zonolite is a branded trademark product made from vermiculite.[3] W. R. Grace and Company bought the Zonolite mine in 1963, Lovick went to work for Grace, prior to this logging was the leading employer in Libby. After W. R. Grace & Company closed the Zonolite mine in 1990, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Montana Department of Health and Environment sampled local soil and air and found no asbestos contamination.[4] Further examination with improved equipment found that the samples had traces of fibrous tremolite, which is suspected in the scores of asbestos related ailments affecting area residents.[5][6] The EPA has spent $120 million in Superfund money on cleanup.[7][8][9]

A documentary film by the name Libby, Montana was made regarding the asbestos exposure. W.R. Grace and Lovick knew since 1956 that the dust was toxic and causing asbestosis, but did not release this information to the public, nor the workforce. They also knew that the people had died from the mine, were dying, and would die. Additionally, an estimated 35 million homes in the U.S. contain Zonolite insulation.[10][11]

Media and transportation


  • KLCB - AM - 1230-kHz (owner Lincoln County Broadcasters; tower location Little Hoodoo Mountain)
  • KTNY - FM - 101.7 MHz (owner Lincoln County Broadcasters; tower location Little Hoodoo Mountain)


  • Libby (Amtrak station)

Notable residents

  • John Ferdinand Bockman is the only police officer to date to be killed in the line of duty here.
  • Keith Tower, NBA player, was born here.


  1. ^ Site Background - Region 8 - Libby Asbestos - EPA
  2. ^ "About the Film" - Libby, Montana - at PBS
  3. ^ "A town left to die" - Seattle Post-Intelligencer - November 18, 1999-January 27, 2007
  4. ^ "Executive Summary" - EPA
  5. ^ Zalac, Frédéric. "Deadly Dust" - CBC News - February 7, 2003 | Updated March 2005
  6. ^ Zalac, Frédéric. "Deadly Dust 2" - CBC News - September 28, 2004
  7. ^ EPA's Actions Concerning Asbestos-Contaminated Vermiculite in Libby, Montana, 2001-S-7, March 31, 2001 - EPA - 04-14-2003 - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document)
  8. ^ Region 8 - Libby Asbestos - EPA
  9. ^ W.R. Grace Petition - April 27, 2006 - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document)
  10. ^ Libby, Montana - at PBS
  11. ^ Libby, Montana - at IMDb
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Libby,_Montana". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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