Ballantine was founded in 1907 as a townsite within the Huntley Project, formerly part of the Crow Indian Reservation. Irrigation slowly changed the sagebrush landscape into farms growing sugar beets, alfalfa, and other crops. The population grew slowly and included many European immigrants. Both Catholic and Lutheran religious services were held here, and a Congregational Church was built. The Anita Dam and Reservoir project, about six miles southeast of Ballantine, was completed in 1937 by Civilian Conservation Corps workers.

In 1896, the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad established Ballantine as a station, named for homesteader E. P. Ballantine. By 1907, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad had taken over rail operations, and the town had a post office to serve the growing number of area homesteaders