Filed Under Helena

Lewis and Clark County Courthouse

Helena Historic District

Much Montana history unfolded within this magnificent landmark, which served as both territorial capitol (1887-1888) and state capitol (1889-1902). Here in 1889 officials received word of statehood, and three hours later J. K. Toole was sworn in as Montana’s first governor. St. Paul architects Hodgson and Stem drew heavily upon the Romanesque Revival style as influenced by H. H. Richardson, creating a masterpiece that rivaled eastern counterparts. The well-laid granite walls boast exceptionally fine Bayfield brownstone trim from Wisconsin (the same brownstone of New York’s Fifth Avenue fame) and the interior appointments are also extraordinary. The building’s splendid Norman clock tower presided over Helena until 1935, when earthquakes humbled its grandeur. The tower, fourth-story gables, and a heavy stone cornice, adornments of little use during the Depression era, were not replaced.

Images

Lewis and Clark County Courthouse Lewis and Clark County Courthouse, which served as both the territorial and the state capitol building until 1902. Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: [no date]
Lewis and Clark County courthouse and jail Former state capitol building with facilities for detention. Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: [no date]
Street view with Lewis and Clark County courthouse in distance Helena, Montana, street view. [Looking south on Ewing Street toward Lewis and Clark County courthouse.] 1894 Source: Haynes Foundation collection, Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: F.J. Haynes, photographer Date: 1894
View from Lewis and Clark County Courthouse Looking north on Ewing Street from courthouse. Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: Lowy & Towner, photographers Date: ca. 1887
Lewis and Clark County Courthouse Lewis and Clark County Courthouse, view of building access from Broadway Street. Source: MontanaPictures.net Creator: MontanaPictures.net Date: Feb. 2009
Lewis and Clark County Courthouse Lewis and Clark County Courthouse, facing southwest on North Ewing Street, side view and view of access on North Ewing Street/5th Avenue. Source: MontanaPictures.net Creator: MontanaPictures.net Date: Feb. 2009

Location

228 East Broadway Street, Helena, Montana | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Lewis and Clark County Courthouse,” Historic Montana, accessed February 4, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/721.