Forsyth Main Street Historic District

Captain William Clark trekked through this area on his journey down the Yellowstone River in 1806. By the time General George Armstrong Custer passed by en route to the Little Bighorn in 1876, homesteads dotted the area. As the Northern Pacific Railroad pushed west in 1882, officials platted the town of Forsyth to serve its crews. They planned the town with a one-sided Main Street facing the railroad right-of-way. Growth at first was tentative with businesses clustered around the principal intersection at Main and Ninth Streets. Early urban development resulted from the efforts of Hiram Marcyes and Thomas Alexander, rival businessmen who controlled much of Forsyth’s early economy. As the railroad attracted a more diverse population that included doctors, lawyers, merchants, and service providers, Forsyth became a regional trade and social center. In 1901 Rosebud County was established with Forsyth as the county seat. Main Street expanded rapidly during the homestead boom of the 1910s. Although drought and depression in 1918 halted most development, Forsyth’s importance as a local trade center was undiminished. Today twenty-four buildings span the period 1888-1931, offering small-town ambiance. The Marcyes Building and the Alexander Hotel, built by the town’s two rivals, represent the early period. Several fine architect-designed blocks from the twentieth century also enrich the streetscape. The Renaissance Revival style Commercial Hotel (1903–6), the Beaux Arts style Wacholz Building (1917), and the Spanish Eclectic Roxy Theatre (1930) illustrate the vitality of this small but thriving community.

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Roughly bounded by Cedar Street, 11th Avenue, Main Street, and 8th Street, Forsyth, Montana ~ Private