As a ranching and agricultural center and major railroad stop between Butte and the Idaho line, Dillon’s future looked very bright in the late 1890s. The recent invention of the gold dredge and resurgence of gold mining brought added prosperity to the county. With optimistic vigor in 1897, pioneer politician and businessman Joseph Metlen expressed his support of the community and belief in Dillon’s potential with the construction of a $30,000 sixty-room hotel. Grand in scale and rich in detail, Metlen spared no expense on the three-story Second Empire style building. White quarry-faced sandstone, white brick, a tin-covered mansard roof, and interior finishing of Michigan and Oregon pine reveal the best quality materials. The hotel boasted all the most modern conveniences: call bells in every room, electricity, hot and cold water, and a steam heating system “absolutely free from hammering.” Over 200 distinguished guests attended the formal opening on February 11, 1898, including Governor R. B. Smith and Chief Justice Pemberton. One of Dillon’s three surviving landmarks of the early community, the Metlen Hotel remains an important economic and social fixture, providing similar services for over ninety years.


Hotel Metlen, Dillon, MT
Hotel Metlen, Dillon, MT View of facade Source: National Register of Historic Places photos. On file at Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT Creator: Les Rickey, Dillon, MT Date: 1983
Hotel Metlen
Hotel Metlen View of facade, looking northwest Creator:


5 South Railroad Avenue, Dillon, Montana | First floor is public saloon


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Hotel Metlen,” Historic Montana, accessed May 30, 2024,