when the Galt Companies constructed a narrow guage railway south from Lethbridge, Alberta Territory to Great Falls in the brand new state of Montana to supply coal to the Montana mining and smelting companies. Coutts was made an out port that year and the railway station constructed that year straddled the boundary. It housed both Canadian and American Customs and Immigration. The hamlet was named after Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts, a philanthropist and substantial stockholder in the Alberta Railway and Coal Company.
Coutts became a railway shipping point for coal and livestock, especially cattle. While the American portion of the Coutts/Sweetgrass station included jail cells, the Canadian side did not as in November of 1890 a North West Mounted Police barracks was constructed to serve as jail, lodging house, church, school, concert hall, and morgue. (The original station is now restored and located at the Galt Historic Railway Park in Stirling Alberta.) Coutts grew slowly over the years, recognized as the Gateway to Alberta when the Province was created in 1905. The 1920's brought oil activity and the construction of refineries and business at the Port grew until Coutts was referred to as the "Windsor (Ontario) of the West" .The area thrived until 1937 when the oil companies shut down the refineries and moved out of the area. Ironically 1937 is also the year the new school house was built, replacing the one which had burned down the previous year. The Historic Coutts School is one of the few historic buildings still standing in its original location, and served as a school until 2009.
The school is now the home of the Coutts Public Library, Out of the Fire Studio, a pottery studio located in the art room, and Grandma's Kitchen operated by Ann Earl. The building is owned by the Village and operated by the Coutts Recreation and Arts Society. The Governments of the United States and Canada cooperated to build a new border crossing facility in 2004 and the resulting unfortunate highway disruption effectively isolated the business districts of both Coutts and Sweetgrass Montana. The port remains one of the busiest land crossings in North America with over $5 Billion in export value passing through by truck in 2012 and another $6.5 Billion in goods imported into the country. Over a million travellers pass through the village annually. Coutts is located in an agriculturally sustained area, and with employment opportunites through Customs and Immigration and various trade and shipping related businesses , as well as being a very affordable place to live and retire, it continues to provide a welcoming home for around 300 residents.