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…

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…

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…

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…