Jeanette Rankin Residence

National Historic Landmark

Born on a ranch near Missoula, Jeannette Rankin graduated from the University of Montana in 1902. She studied social work in New York City and worked in an orphanage before deciding that she wanted to focus on the root causes of society’s problems. Realizing that “to have decent laws for children, sanitary jails, [and] safe food supplies, women would have to vote,” Rankin became a full-time suffrage organizer in 1910. After successful campaigns in Washington and California, she returned to Montana, where she helped pass the state’s suffrage amendment in 1914. Supported by Montana’s newly enfranchised women voters, Jeannette Rankin won election to Congress in 1916, becoming the nation’s first female representative. Her first vote was against the United States’ entry into World War I. After a term in the House, Rankin lost her bid for Senate in 1918, in part because her support of striking miners had made an enemy of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. Unable to secure reelection, Rankin became a full-time peace activist. She purchased a home near Athens, Georgia, but kept her legal residence in Montana, spending every summer from 1923 to 1956 here. In 1940, Rankin once again ran for Congress. Montanans sent her back to the House, where she cast the sole vote against U.S. entrance into World War II. Although Jeannette’s brother Wellington owned this property, she spent more time living in the simple, frame ranch house than he did. Due to this association, the National Park Service designated ninety acres of the ranch as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

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Avalanche Gulch area, 30 miles east of Helena, Montana ~ Restricted