Filed Under Helena

Montana State Capitol Building

Montana State Capital Campus Historic District

The gentle rise overlooking the Helena Valley enhances the stately character of the "People’s House." It is Montana’s grandest public space and a stunning example of high style public architecture. Iowa architects Charles Bell and John Kent designed the center portion in the Neoclassical style to reflect the “American Renaissance” of the late nineteenth century. The state had few financial resources, so mining magnate Thomas Cruse bought all the bonds that financed its construction. Completed in 1902, the Capitol embodies the optimism, financial reality, and political climate of the time. The soaring Rotunda, beneath the copper-clad dome and figure “Montana,” sculpted by Pennsylvania artist Edward VanLandeghem, serves as the real and symbolic axis of government. Montana architects John Link and Charles Haire designed the wings, added in 1909. Classical elements carry through the interior, but the artistic expression speaks distinctly to Montana. A kaleidoscope of details and stained and art glass set the stage for a theatrical “history pageant.” Exquisite paintings by Montana artists Charles Russell, Ralph DeCamp, and Edgar S. Paxson visually dramatize Montana’s colorful past.

Audio

Building the Montana State Capitol Audio recording about the construction challenges of the Montana State Capitol. Prepared and recorded by Montana Historical Society staff member Ellen Baumler. Presented on the Soundcloud channel "Montana History on the Go" 2015. Source: Montana History on the Go Creator: Ellen Baumler Date: 2015

Images

Montana State Capitol Building
Montana State Capitol Building Montana State Capitol with the east and west wings added. Catalog #952-710 Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: L.H. Jorud; photographer Date: July, 1932
Capital victory, 1894
Capital victory, 1894 Thomas Cruse residence, corner of Benton Ave. and Lawrence Street, after victory of Helena for Capitol vs. Anaconda, November 1894. The following individuals are present W. A. Clark, Butte; Thomas Cruse, Helena; William Quinn, Butte; Dr. Thompson; M. M. Holter; Mrs. Cruse; Laura King et al. Catalog #951-978 Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: Addy Murphy; Photographer Date: November 1894
Cornerstone laying
Cornerstone laying Laying of the cornerstone, Montana state capitol building, Helena, Montana. Man in silk hat (left) identified as Charles W. Pomerory, Grand Master, Montana Masonic lodges. Catalog #957-626 Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: J.P. Ball & Son; Helena; Mont. Date: July 4, 1899
Construction of the dome
Construction of the dome Montana State Capitol Building Under Construction. Catalog #952-636 Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: Photographer Unidentified Date: ca. 1901
Dedication of the capitol
Dedication of the capitol Capitol building, Helena, Montana. Catalog #952-643 Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: Photographer Unidentified Date: July 4, 1902
Unveiling of statue, Capitol building
Unveiling of statue, Capitol building Unveiling of Thomas Francis Meagher Statue in front of State Capitol. Catalog #952-680 Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: Photographer Unidentified Date: ca. 1905
Capitol construction
Capitol construction Construction of west Wing, Montana State Capitol, Helena, Montana. Catalog #952-672 Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: Edward M. Reinig photographer Date: October 26, 1910
Capitol building, Helena
Capitol building, Helena North elevation of the capitol Catalog #952-697 Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: Edward M. Reinig, photographer Date: 1918
Meagher Statue looking north
Meagher Statue looking north Meagher Statue looking north from north entrance of Capitol. Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: [no date]
PAc 2013-50 Helena-Capitol-south side
PAc 2013-50 Helena-Capitol-south side South side of Capitol. [date unknown] Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena MT Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: [no date]
Montana State Capitol Building
Montana State Capitol Building Montana State Capitol Building. Front view of the building and entry of the building, facing east to southeast from the legislative parking lot. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2006
Montana State Capitol Building
Montana State Capitol Building Montana State Capitol Building. Close view of the architecture above the front entry to the building, facing southeast from the legislative parking lot. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2006
Montana State Capitol Building
Montana State Capitol Building Montana State Capitol Building. Side view of the building, facing east on North Montana Avenue. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2006
Montana State Capitol Building
Montana State Capitol Building Montana State Capitol Building. Rear view of the west wing of the building, facing north near Broadway Street. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2006
Montana State Capitol Building
Montana State Capitol Building Montana State Capitol Building. View of the rear entry to the building, facing north from the employee parking lot. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2006
Montana State Capitol Building
Montana State Capitol Building Montana State Capitol Building. Rear view of the east wing of the building, facing north near East Lockey Avenue. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2006
Montana State Capitol Building
Montana State Capitol Building Montana State Capitol Building. Front view of the building, facing south to southwest on East 6th Avenue. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2006
Montana Capitol Building
Montana Capitol Building Photo of Capitol building with tribal flags in front. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Tom Ferris, photographer Date: 12 August, 2021
Montana State Capital Building
Montana State Capital Building Photo of Capitol Building ceiling details. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Tom Ferris, photographer Date: 12 August, 2021
Montana State Capitol Building
Montana State Capitol Building Photo of building entrance. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Tom Ferris, photographer Date: 12 August, 2021
Montana State Capitol Building
Montana State Capitol Building Photo of Capitol Building interior staircase. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Tom Ferris, photographer Date: 12 August, 2021

Location

1301 East 6th Avenue, Helena, Montana | Publicly accessible. See also, The People's House virtual tour of the Capitol or Visit the Montana Capitol

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Montana State Capitol Building,” Historic Montana, accessed April 14, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2182.