Madison County Courthouse

Virginia City Historic District

Architect Loren B. Olds, who arrived in Montana Territory in 1863, designed both the Madison County Courthouse and the original Beaverhead County Courthouse in Bannack (later the Meade Hotel) in 1875. Among the earliest architect-designed buildings in the territory, they both feature dramatic, gracefully curving interior staircases with beautiful newel posts and banisters. The staircases show an appreciation for woodwork that may have come from Olds’ original profession as a millwright. The Madison County Courthouse is the more ornate of the two. Its Italianate style details include paired brackets under the wide, overhanging eaves; tall, arched windows; and a cupola. Built for $35,000—a princely sum in 1875—the courthouse also features fanlight windows, a grand second-story balcony, and a round window centered in the gable end. William W. Morris, a Virginia City capitalist and Madison County treasurer, donated the lots for this important structure, which was dedicated on July 4, 1876. The oldest courthouse in the state still used for its original purpose, its vault continues to store some of Montana Territory’s earliest records.

Images

Map

100 W Wallace Street, Virginia City, MT ~ public