Filed Under Livingston

Livingston Commercial Historic District

As the Northern Pacific Railroad pushed its tracks westward in 1882, representatives arrived at this bend in the Yellowstone River to open a company store. They pitched a tent, stocking it with 140,000 pounds of goods hauled by ox-drawn wagons. Other merchants set up shop as track-laying crews spilled into Clark City. By 1883, Northern Pacific surveyors had platted a townsite nearby for their division headquarters, and Clark City's tents moved to the new town of Livingston. Named after a company director, Livingston's early Main Street was a muddy track bordered by wooden sidewalks, and the false-fronted wooden stores, offices, and many saloons did a lucrative business. Madame Bulldog's Bucket of Blood Saloon served a rowdy and transient clientele, among them the notorious Martha "Calamity Jane" Cannary. In 1885-86, fires destroyed much of downtown prompting reconstruction of more substantial, permanent brick buildings. Advertising painted on downtown buildings boasted all manner of goods and services while local cigar factories, mills, brickyards, and breweries further assured Livingston's survival. By the 1890s, the town had become essential to tourists as the departure point for Yellowstone Park. Finally, the construction of the grand Northern Pacific depot in 1901-02 displayed the railroad's promotion of Park tourism and commitment to Livingston's future.

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Images

Livingston Commercial Historic District.
Livingston Commercial Historic District. View looking southeast down Main Street from West Park Ave. Source: Livingston Historic Preservation Commission Creator: John Luther Date: Sept. 24, 2019
Livingston Commercial Historic District
Livingston Commercial Historic District Livingston Commercial Historic District, facing southwest on East Callender Street. Source: MontanaPictures.net Creator: MontanaPictures.net Date: Apr. 2005
Livingston Commercial Historic District
Livingston Commercial Historic District Livingston Commercial Historic District, facing southeast on South Main Street. Source: MontanaPictures.net Creator: MontanaPictures.net Date: Apr. 2005

Location

Roughly bounded by Park, C, Clark, 3rd, and Callender Streets, Livingston, Montana | Private/Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Livingston Commercial Historic District,” Historic Montana, accessed July 13, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/1674.