Exploring The Abandoned Base At St.Marie Montana | The Glasgow Air Force Base In Montana

In 2010 we explored the mostly abandoned Glasgow Air Force Base, also known as St.Marie, Montana. This former base is a semi-ghost town with lots to offer.

Glasgow Air Force Base started construction in 1955 as part of the Air Defence Command and officially opened in 1957. It was a full base with hundreds of houses, barracks, hangars, hospital, schools, theater, church, bowling alley, grocery store, etc. It was home to thousands of people. In 1968 the base was closed and with it, 16,000 people left the area. The population continued to drop and by 1990 less than 4000 people remained.

Glasgow Air Force Base was briefly reactivated in 1971-1976 and officially ceased operations in 1976. After sitting for years a company called Boeing bought a portion of the base (barracks, hangars, etc.) for aircraft testing. They still own this section today and it’s heavily secured. We found this great article o the history of the location, read it HERE

Where did the name St.Marie come from? This place wasn’t even known as St.Marie until the mid-1980s when a retired air force officer bought up a large chunk of the housing in hopes of turning it into a retirement community. He named it “St.Marie” after his daughter. This plan ultimately started to fail and in 1996 he had to sell some of his buildings to a property development company. This couldn’t save him as a combination of taxes owed, the housing market and other factors he was unable to save the buildings and they fell into disrepair.

With less than a couple hundred of residents remaining, mostly retired military people – the old base was becoming a ghost town. So the buildings sit, left to the elements, falling into disrepair and looking like something out a horror movie. The roofs in the schools are collapsing, the hospital looks like something from a horror movie, the rows of houses are overgrown and the whole place has an eerie vibe. The town doesn’t have any facilities but they are using a couple of buildings that house the post office, town hall, and condo association.

2010, was the year of our first visit. We went to Montana to explore and photograph military remains. We knew about the old base as Glasgow but had no idea what it was going to be like as not much was online. As urban explorers, this place was a dream. Row after row of abandoned houses lining the streets, abandoned hospitals, multiple decaying schools, a theater, church, grocery store, and more. Just sitting there and no one in sight. Yup – we didn’t see one person on our first visit. It was both eerie and cool. We avoided the barracks and hangar areas that were fenced and posted by Bowing which still left us with a lot of areas to explore. It was a whirlwind visit, trying to see as much as we could with what little time we had.

We returned for a second time that year after realizing we missed the theater! We took time to explore the hospital and other buildings that trip making it well worth the return. We saw one vehicle during this visit but they didn’t stop to talk

Let’s move forward to 2012 when the Sovereign Citizens show up. Seriously, go read about this group of people – because this is where things start to get weird. You can read more about them in the article HERE. The short version could be summed up by saying that this group came in and started to push people out, in an aggressive way. Between legal battles and putting up aggressive signage around the town, St. Marie quickly became a place you wanted to avoid.

We visited again in 2012 before the Sovereign Citizens showed up and made a quick visit again in 2014 where we did meet some people. On our way out we talked with them about how we were documenting the site through photography and they told us it was all good and to stay out of the buildings as they were dangerous and in disrepair. Fine with us, we had already seen it all.

From what we understand, if you go to St. Marie today you will be approached quickly. We have heard rumors of the cameras being set up in buildings, people being threatened verbally and with guns, and running out of town. Doesn’t matter if you were a past resident trying to go down memory lane or a photographer, they don’t want you in the town.

Homes, Community Center, Bowling Alley, Shopping, and More

Hospital/Detox Center

The abandoned hospital turned detox center on the base. This hospital was one of the most intact we have explored, it had hospital beds, equipment, x-ray and dental suites, and more. After it was a hospital on the base it was turned into a detox center and then abandoned. On our first visits it had very little vandalism and destruction. On later visits the hospital changed, the kitchen was completely blocked off and locked and there was evidence of activity and more vandalism.

Abandoned Military Theater

It took a visit to the United States to find an abandoned theater. To be honest, the first time we explore the abandoned semi-ghost town of St.Marie, Montana we didn’t see the theater. This former military base town was home to everything so it’s not surprising. When we got home from our trip we realized we never found the theater because we ran out of time. On our return visits the same year and years later we were able to document the theater. On later trips, the signage and other elements had started to be torn out which definitely takes away from its glory. Here is a collection of images from various trips to the old military theater.