Filed Under Virginia City

Original Madison County Courthouse

Virginia City Historic District

Madison County was one of the original nine counties created by the first territorial legislature in 1865. This building, constructed in 1866, served as the county courthouse during Virginia City’s stint as territorial capital (1865-1875). When the present courthouse on Wallace Street replaced it in 1876, three Catholic Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas, came to Virginia City at the request of Father Francis Kelleher. The sisters opened St. Mary’s Hospital for miners in the old courthouse. The hospital briefly prospered and the three sisters worked tirelessly caring for patients, cooking, sterilizing instruments, and doing endless hospital laundry. Placer gold was soon exhausted and St. Mary’s closed for lack of patients in 1879. In 1949, Charles Bovey remodeled the interior as a hotel, but the exterior, with its clapboard siding and tall false front, is little changed from the 1870s.


Bonanza Inn, Virginia City
Bonanza Inn, Virginia City View of wood-framed buildings identified as the Bonanza Inn, Virginia City, Montana. These buildings originally housed the Madison County Courthouse and later a hospital until about 1892-1893. Source: PAc 956-200, Montana Legacy Photograph Collection, Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT. Creator: Unknown photographer Date: ca. 1940-1949
Original Madison County Courthouse, Virginia City
Original Madison County Courthouse, Virginia City View looking south at building facade Source: Courtesy of Montana Heritage Commission Creator: Kate Steeley, Montana Heritage Commission Date: Oct 2019


308 West Idaho Street, Virginia City, Montana | Public


Montana National Register Sign Program, “Original Madison County Courthouse,” Historic Montana, accessed July 12, 2024,