At one time the site of a saloon that served Missouri River freighters, the community of Big Sandy is named for nearby Big Sandy Creek. The town began in 1887 with the arrival of the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway (later the Great Northern Railway). By early 1900, Cornelius J. McNamara and Thomas A. Marlow, owners of the McNamara Cattle Company, had opened the town’s first store. Homesteaders began arriving in Big Sandy in 1909, and an influx continued for a decade. Several stories explain the creek’s name. The most colorful involves a muleskinner, “Big Sandy” Lane, who arrived one day near the present townsite and, to his dismay, discovered the creek at flood stage. He cursed the uncooperative weather, his bad luck, and the flooded creek crossing so fluently that the offending stream dried up immediately and he was able to cross. For decades Big Sandy’s primary landmark was the town water tower, which was visible for many miles. The water tower was dismantled in 1993. As of 2019 some local and former residents have banded together to establish a particularly charismatic and recurring puddle on Main Street (which has been dubbed, simply, “Puddle”) as a new and recognizable landmark of the municipality. Two of the higher profile natives of Big Sandy, Craig Edwards and Steve Sibra, are among those who actively promote “Puddle” as a body of water of consequence.