Deer Lodge County Courthouse
This valley known by Native Americans as “Lodge of the White Tailed Deer” officially became Deer Lodge County when this area was part of the Territory of Idaho. After the creation of the Territory of Montana in 1864, the first territorial legislature named Deer Lodge one of Montana’s original nine counties. The county seat, first located at Silver Bow and then Deer Lodge, moved to Anaconda in 1896. A bond election in 1898 assured funding for the construction of a county courthouse. County Clerk Martin Martin suggested placing the building at the head of Main Street rather than in the middle of the block so that “A stranger visiting Anaconda has no need to ask where the court house is.” Architects Charles E. Bell and John N. Kent, who also drew the plans for the state capitol in Helena, were commissioned to design the building. Deer Lodge County officials moved from Anaconda’s City Hall into the new facility in the spring of 1900. The grand Neoclassical style building, constructed of buff-colored dressed sandstone, features a central two-tiered, domed tower. On the interior, the dome’s painted ribs dramatically simulate structural members. Frescoes and county seals by Consolidated Artists of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, adorn the panels between the “ribs.” Other interior appointments include an ornate spiral staircase of oak and marble treads, oak banisters, and cast iron risers. Decorative square cast iron newel posts, originally capped with electric lights, are especially noteworthy.