When railroads replaced steamboats, Fort Benton’s importance as a trade center declined. In response, Fort Benton businessmen formed the Benton Bridge Company to construct a bridge across the Missouri River to capture the trade of the rapidly…

This building opened in 1882 during Fort Benton’s “glory days” as Montana’s largest hardware store. T. C. Power and Hans Wackerlin operated the business. Wackerlin, a tinsmith, had come to Fort Benton in 1867 aboard the steam boat Richmond, which…

Originally built to house the Stockmen’s National Bank, this solid structure represents typical pre-1900s commercial architecture. Its 1890 construction is significant as one of the few buildings erected after Fort Benton’s heyday and before…

T. C. Power and Bro. was founded in 1868 at approximately this location. Initially housed in a wooden building, the store was moved in 1879 to a large brick structure across the street. When the firm expanded, a hardware store was built next door…

In 1867, merchant T. C. Power, destined to become one of the state’s wealthiest and most influential men, brought his first wagonload of goods to Fort Benton, where he set up shop in a borrowed tent. Still in business in 1916, Power constructed a…

In 1864, Mills and Douglas operated a restaurant and hotel on this corner. Mills and Robert S. Culbertson went into partnership in 1877, opening a new establishment called the Centennial Hotel in celebration of the United States' 100th…

Prominent Montana merchant and cattleman John T. Murphy, who also ran a major freighting outfit between Fort Benton and the mining camps, went into partnership with Samuel Neel to build this commercial structure in 1880 at a cost of $15,000. The…

After the turn of the twentieth century homesteaders poured into Montana, and by 1910 the area’s land office at Great Falls processed between a thousand and fifteen hundred homestead filings per month. The peaceful little river town of Fort Benton…

Members of Masonic Lodge #25 built this brick structure in 1882, housing their temple on the second floor. Grocer W. H. Burgess rented first floor space. Economic decline in the late 1880s caused the Masons to lose title, and Burgess, too, went…

This grandiose, three-story Italianate style hotel welcomed weary river travelers to the Gateway of the Northwest, offering guests a luxurious refuge before setting out for less civilized destinations. Its opening in 1882 came at the end of the…