All Tours: 74

Early Montana

19 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The earliest historical sites in Montana reflect the period of transition when European building ways and property ownership ideas marked a land long in use by Native Americans. The nomadic lifestyle of Montana’s indigenous people resulted in…

Mining Industry

30 Locations ~ Curated by Christopher Gray
Mining significantly impacted Montana’s history and shaped the built environment. The first Montana Gold Rush in the early 1860s set the stage for massive change. Upon the discovery of gold, boom towns soon dotted the territory and drew many people…

Railroads

19 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The surge of industrial activity near the end of the 19th century coupled with the arrival of homesteaders created a demand for transportation more efficient than stage coaches and freight wagons. Railroads met this need with the Utah and Northern…

Carnegie Libraries

8 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The rapid expansion of American cities between 1890 and 1920 created a social environment which concerned many civic leaders. Efforts to counter the perceived vices of urban living included the construction of lending libraries to cultivate the…

Hi Bug Historic District

23 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Hi Bug was a schoolyard term coined in the 1920s in reference to the wealthy and high-society residents of north Red Lodge. Developed between 1890 and 1930, the area’s location north of the coal mines yet near the railroad station, city schools,…

Hardin Commercial Historic District

9 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Long before fur trappers entered the Bighorn Valley, Crows, Sioux, and Cheyennes vied for the area’s abundant game. In 1876, Sioux and Cheyenne warriors defeated the U.S. Army at the Battle of the Little Bighorn; the following year, the Army…

Red Lodge Commercial Historic District

23 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Rapid growth of the young town of Red Lodge coincided with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad’s branch line in 1889. The area became Montana’s leading coal mining region. Town lots were platted by the secretary of the Rocky Fork Town and…

Great Falls Central Business Historic District

29 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Great Falls began with an act of imagination. In 1882 entrepreneur Paris Gibson looked at the broad flat plain near the cataracts of the Missouri and envisioned a booming metropolis. By the next year, Gibson had convinced railroad magnate James J.…

Great Falls Northside Residential Historic District

15 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Great Falls founder Paris Gibson was drawn to the power of the falls of the Missouri where he vowed to found an industrial center of “unsurpassed beauty.” Backed by railroad magnate James J. Hill, Gibson hired H. P. Rolfe to plat the townsite in…

Fort Benton Historic District

21 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Founded in 1846 as the fur trade transitioned from furs to buffalo robes, Fort Benton was both a trading post and a center for distribution of Indian annuities. In the early 1860s, Montana’s gold rush and the initiation of steamboat traffic made the…

East Main Street Historic District

15 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The development of this elegant residential neighborhood reflects Miles City's second growth spurt in the early twentieth century. Although the population of this "cowtown" waned between 1890 and 1905, the advent of the Chicago, Milwaukee and…

Miles City Main Street Historic District

6 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The Main Street historic district reveals Miles City’s major growth periods of 1882-1887, 1905-1920, and 1935-1940. The first of these began with the arrival of the Northern Pacific in 1881, when imposing brick business blocks began to replace the…

Merrill Avenue Historic District

9 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Glendive took root as a steamboat landing on the Yellowstone River and as a railroad center in the middle of prime stock country. When the Northern Pacific reached Glendive in 1881, its first cars transported buffalo hides and bones back to the…

Anaconda Commercial Historic District

23 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Backed by the powerful San Francisco syndicate of Hearst, Haggin and Tevis, Marcus Daly built the world’s largest smelter (combined upper and lower works) on Warm Springs Creek between 1883 and 1889. Along with the smelters, Daly envisioned a…

Goosetown Historic District

9 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Attracted by the opportunity to work at Marcus Daly’s copper smelter, thousands of immigrants came seeking work in Anaconda. Many were from Ireland, like Daly himself, but skilled and unskilled workers also came from a myriad of foreign places. Most…

West Side Historic District, Anaconda

10 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Marcus Daly watched with pride as Anaconda steadily gained momentum after its founding in 1883. While Daly’s social and political ambition was reflected in the elegant downtown Montana Hotel, Anaconda Company managers, city officials, and other…

Courthouse Historic District

3 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
In 1879, Metis—people of French and Chippewa-Cree descent—homesteaded in this area, near the army’s Camp Lewis. Many street names memorialize these settlers, who included Francis A. Janeaux and Paul Morase. But open range cattle ranching, nearby gold…

Lewistown Central Business Historic District

20 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Lewistown’s elegant commercial district was constructed during central Montana’s most prosperous decades, from 1900 to 1920. That era of good weather, and railroad and government publicity, drew thousands of homesteaders into the area. Lewistown grew…

East Side Historic District, Kalispell 

74 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
As the town of Kalispell ended its first decade in 1901, the Kalispell Bee reported that the “artistic and modern” residences would well ornament a much larger city. Dozens of spacious Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and vernacular style East Side…

Kalispell Main Street Historic District (Addendum and Boundary Increase)

13 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
As the tracks of the Great Northern Railway inched westward from St. Paul to Seattle, Flathead Valley towns vied for designation as the railway’s division point. In the spring of 1891, however, railroad officials purchased land from the Reverend…

West Side Historic District, Kalispell

21 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Small farms and orchards dotted the fourteen blocks of this residential neighborhood when the original townsite of Kalispell was platted in 1891. Soon a few wood frame buildings were constructed on its lots for temporary housing and to provide…

Bon Ton Historic District

16 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The elaborate homes of the Bon Ton Historic District reflect the tastes and aspirations of Bozeman’s economic and cultural elite. Its residents included the presidents and managers of successful businesses and the doctors, dentists, lawyers, and…

Cooper Park Historic District

6 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Impetus for the development of this late-blooming district began in 1890 with Bozeman's bid for designation as state capital. Instead, Bozeman received the state's agricultural college, built approximately where the hoped-for capitol…

Lindley Place Historic District

2 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
This diminutive neighborly district of thirty-four rather modest, early homes was surveyed and platted as Lindley and Guy's Addition in anticipation of the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad. A lumber planing operation occupied the…

Main Street Historic District, Bozeman

14 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Leading wagon trains to the booming gold camps of Bannack and Virginia City, miner-turned-guide John Bozeman recognized the agricultural potential of the Gallatin Valley. At his direction in 1864, William Beall and Daniel Rouse laid out a townsite.…

Philipsburg Historic Disctrict

23 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Philipsburg’s early-day fortunes ebbed and flowed with mining. Today, its historic district is one of Montana’s best preserved late-nineteenth-century mining towns, with commercial, public, and private buildings dating from the boom period of silver…

Havre Residential Historic District

10 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The Havre Residential Historic District represents Havre’s economic growth and social change from 1895 to the 1940s. Located primarily at the district’s northwestern edge, turn-of-the-century homes of the social and business elite are large…

Fort Assinniboine

7 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
According to the United States War Department, Fort Assinniboine was established in 1879 “for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Montana from the hostile incursions of Indian tribes dwelling in that region; and especially … the Sioux which had…

Helena Historic District

86 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The crooked path of Last Chance Gulch, weaving between original mining claims, memorializes Helena’s chaotic beginning as a gold camp in 1864. Within a year of the placer gold discovery, a boomtown flourished, with homes and businesses in tents and…

Helena South-Central Historic District

30 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
This first permanent settlement of the gold camp at Last Chance Gulch offers a glimpse of early Helena from the late 1860s to the 1890s. By the 1870s, a Catholic cathedral, St. John's Hospital, two schools, and dormitories presided over the…

Helena West Main Street Historic District

3 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The physical link between the earliest settlement of Helena and the ceaseless efforts to fully exploit the area’s mineral potential is nowhere more clearly apparent than in this narrow district, settled on mining claims. After the first local gold…

Virginia City National Historic Landmark District

87 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The spectacular gold deposit discovered in Alder Gulch on May 26, 1863, led to the rapid growth of this colorful and legendary gold camp town. Thousands of fortune‑seekers rushed to the area, and by 1864 the Virginia City area boasted 30,000…

East Pine Street Historic District

6 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Missoula’s evolution from trading post to railroad center, university town, and federal government hub is revealed in this distinctive downtown residential neighborhood. Francis L. Worden, among Missoula’s most influential early merchants and…

Fort Missoula Historic District (addendum and boundary increase)

7 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Fort Missoula, established in 1877 to provide military control over western Montana’s Indian tribes and protect local settlers, was the only permanent military post west of the Continental Divide. There was little conflict, but the fort’s…

Lower Rattlesnake Historic District

4 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Nestled in a watershed tributary of the Clark Fork River, Lower Rattlesnake drainage has a long and significant history. Salish Indians named Rattlesnake Creek Kehi-oo-lee, and Captain Meriwether Lewis recorded the creek’s existence in his homeward…

McCormick Neighborhood Historic District

6 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Ancestors of the Salish and Pend d’Oreille lived in this area for thousands of years, and tribal members continued to gather bitterroot in South Missoula into the 1960s. The neighborhood’s non-Indian development accelerated after construction of the…

Missoula Southside Historic District

8 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
This colorful district charts Missoula's transformation from rough frontier town to established community. When the Northern Pacific Railroad chose Missoula as its division headquarters in the 1880s, the burst of activity brought investors,…

Northside Missoula Railroad Historic District

9 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Generations of Northsiders have grown up in the shadow of the railyards since the Northern Pacific Railroad’s arrival in 1883 transformed Missoula into a modern city. Accepting land as an enticement from A. J. Urlin and other leading businessmen, the…

The University of Montana Historic District

20 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
An 1881 act of Congress granted the Territory of Montana seventy-two sections of land to use in funding a university. When the Montana legislature finally created the University of Montana in 1893, the Missoula community expressed its support by…

Livingston Commercial Historic District

19 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
As the Northern Pacific Railroad pushed its tracks westward in 1882, representatives arrived at this bend in the Yellowstone River to open a company store. They pitched a tent, stocking it with 140,000 pounds of goods hauled by ox-drawn wagons. Other…

Livingston Westside Residential Historic District

11 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Livingston was inextricably tied to the railroad, but its business community also influenced the town's character. After 1900, professionals and entrepreneurs built new homes on the Westside when the expansion of downtown encroached on the…

Deer Lodge Central Business Historic District

9 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Situated on a key gold rush trail, Deer Lodge grew into an important ranching and retail center during the 1860s. By 1869, the thriving village boasted grocery stores, harness and saddle shops, barber shops, photography galleries, blacksmiths,…

Hamilton Commercial Historic District

15 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Hamilton was born of the Anaconda Company’s voracious appetite for lumber, nurtured on the Bitterroot apple boom, and sustained by medical research. Copper King Marcus Daly—whose Big Mill cut millions of board feet annually to feed his mines and…

Hamilton Southside Residential Historic District

9 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The architectural character of this pleasant district was initially shaped by copper king Marcus Daly. Between 1890 and 1905, Daly's Anaconda Copper Mining Company constructed substantial high style residences for its managers and modest houses…

Forsyth Main Street Historic District

8 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Captain William Clark trekked through this area on his journey down the Yellowstone River in 1806. By the time General George Armstrong Custer passed by en route to the Little Bighorn in 1876, homesteads dotted the area. As the Northern Pacific…

Forsyth Residential Historic District

30 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Founded for the railroad, Forsyth’s residential neighborhoods were platted in 1882 but much of the land lay undeveloped until the 1900s. Forsyth’s first-generation homes were simple dwellings rapidly constructed of wood or log to serve the immediate…

Wibaux Commercial Historic District

5 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
From its roots as a pre-1900s cattle town to a farming community after the turn of the century, Wibaux well illustrates the transformation borne by many small Montana towns. This historic district reflects the high point of the town’s influence as an…

Billings Old Town Historic District

5 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Offering an eclectic architectural mix, Old Town tells the story of Billings’ growth. The Northern Pacific founded the community as a railroad hub in 1882, and by the end of 1883, some 400 canvas tents and crude buildings lined the streets. The 1882…

Billings Townsite Historic District

8 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
At the turn of the twentieth century, Billings was ready to shed its frontier image as a rough-and-tumble cowtown and emerge as a regional commercial center. Billings was already at the juncture of the Northern Pacific and the Chicago, Burlington,…

Homesteads

18 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The federal government’s strategy for populating a newly claimed territory and limiting land use by Native Americans led to a series of Homestead Acts passed between 1862 and 1912. Under these acts the government promised hundreds of acres of free…

Montana Capitals

6 Locations ~ Curated by Jeff Malcomson
Upon arrival in what was then Idaho Territory, settlers and gold-seekers established quasi-governments to bring order and justice to the chaotic mining camps and isolated settlements of the territory. Mining districts—democratic organizations with a…

Transportation Tourism

16 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The impact of transportation on Montana tourism cannot be understated. Boarding houses, hotels, liveries, and way stations supported nineteenth century travelers in Montana, while remaining an integral part of a town’s commercial district. In fact,…

North Elevation Historic District

27 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Austin and Hattie North established the North Elevation Subdivision in 1905. Within walking distance of McKinley Elementary and Billings downtown, “the Elevation” was a commonsense extension for the Yellowstone River Valley’s fastest-growing city.…

Montana's Rural Schoolhouses

17 Locations ~ Curated by Augustus Krier-Ness
Montana’s gold rush and the lure of free farmland brought waves of fortune-seekers and homesteaders to Montana Territory between 1864 and 1918. The families who settled Montana’s rural areas throughout the late 1890s and early 1900s, valued education…

Works Progress Administration (WPA) Buildings

12 Locations ~ Curated by By Augustus Krier-Ness
The Great Depression came early to Montana, beginning in 1918 while the rest of the country thrived. Drought and reduced demand for agricultural products following World War I forced many farmers to default on wartime loans, causing widespread bank…

Montana County Courthouses

19 Locations ~ Curated by By Augustus Krier-Ness
Struggling to tame the wild land in which they settled, Montana’s early settlers worked to establish Euro-American concepts of governance in their growing communities. Montanans moved quickly after the creation of the 1889 Montana Constitution,…

U.S. Forest Service Buildings

13 Locations ~ Curated by By Augustus Krier-Ness
As the U.S. industrialized after the Civil War, logging and mining jeopardized the country’s vast western woodlands. Congress responded to the threat, authorizing the National Forest reserves in 1891. By 1897 millions of acres had been set aside,…

Montana's Labor Temples

12 Locations ~ Curated by Leif Fredrickson and the Historic Montana team
From almost the beginning of the territory, Montana workers tried to organize themselves into unions to secure safer working conditions and better wages and to redress grievances. Where union locals grew, they built halls for meetings and social…

Montana's Fraternal Halls

34 Locations ~ Curated by Michael Larmann and the Historic Montana team
Fraternal societies flourished in Montana and throughout the United States in the mid to late nineteenth century, an era sometimes called the “Golden Age of Fraternalism.” By 1897, approximately six million Americans were members of a fraternal group…

Montana State Capitol Campus

13 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Montana’s governmental landscape is an evolving political and cultural expression with deep roots. The seeds of the capital city were planted with local gold discoveries in 1864. Helena became territorial capital in 1875. Upon statehood in 1889, the…

Walkerville Neighborhood, Butte

10 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Miners north of Missoula Gulch struck silver in 1872, and three years later Rollo Butcher located the Alice, one of the richest silver mines on the Hill. Butcher is credited with building the first permanent residence in Walkerville, and the…

Centerville Neighborhood, Butte

9 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Tightly clustered wooden houses built into the steep slopes of the Butte Hill characterize Centerville. Mostly constructed before 1900, the small Queen Anne cottages, hipped-roof workers’ houses, and vernacular gable-roof homes primarily sheltered…

Central Business District, Butte

81 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
A catastrophic fire consumed much of Main Street in 1879, removing traces of Butte’s mining camp past and ushering in a new era of masonry and stone construction. In the 1880s, single miners remained the primary customers of the district’s gambling…

St. Mary's Neighborhood, Butte

18 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
This historically Catholic neighborhood appropriately takes its name from St. Mary’s parish, which included the Irish communities of Dublin Gulch (since leveled) and Corktown. Known as the “miner’s church,” St. Mary’s scheduled services around shift…

South Butte Neighborhood, Butte

13 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
John Noyes arrived from California in 1866 and purchased several mining claims just north of today’s Front Street. After he and his partners, including David Upton, “put in a ground sluice,” they cleared “about two ounces [of gold] to the man” the…

South Central Neighborhood, Butte

8 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Discovery of rich silver deposits at the Travona, whose head frame still stands at the district’s west end, sparked Butte’s 1870s hard-rock mining boom. Most South Central buildings date from the 1880s and 1890s, after copper had supplanted silver…

East Side Neighborhood, Butte

4 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The East Side neighborhood is bordered on the east by the Berkeley Pit, on the south by the upper yards of the Northern Pacific Railroad, on the west by the east side of Arizona Street, and on the north by the terminus of Quartz Street. The area…

Northwest-Big Butte Neighborhood, Butte

11 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
The Northwest-Big Butte Neighborhood occupies the northwest corner of the NHL district just below the 500-foot-tall Big Butte, the conical extinct volcanic plug from which the city takes its name. The neighborhood includes 482 buildings. In addition…

West Side Neighborhood, Butte

99 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Butte's West Side neighborhood was constructed on the side slopes of Missoula Gulch, which cleaves the heart of this hilly neighborhood. The neighborhood is bounded by Quartz and Copper Streets on the north; on the east by Montana, Idaho and…

Southwest Neighborhood, Butte

4 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Butte's Southwest Neighborhood is a large residential neighborhood spanning Missoula Gulch, and occupying the southwestern-most corner of the Butte-Anaconda Historic District. The oldest settled portion of Southwest Butte lies east of Missoula…

Missoula Downtown Historic District

24 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
In 1865, Christopher Higgins, Francis Worden, and David Pattee constructed grist and lumber mills near where the Mullan Road (now Front Street) intersected with present day Higgins Avenue. Worden’s 1874 Carpenter Gothic home on East Pine, once a…

Great Falls Eastside Neighborhood Historic District

1 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Optimistic about Great Falls’ future, town founder Paris Gibson authorized the plat of the Third Addition—the area that contains the East Side Neighborhood—in 1890. The Crash of 1893 slowed development, and a lone vernacular style home stood,…

Gehring Ranch Historic District

8 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Born in Germany and raised on a farm in Indiana, Bartholomew Gehring left home in 1862 at the start of the Civil War. By 1865, he had arrived in the Helena area, where he began raising cattle to supply the area’s booming mining camps. Acco¬rding to…

Lewis and Clark Caverns Historic District

2 Locations ~ Curated by The Historic Montana Team
Deer hunters first brought the spectacular system of subterranean caverns within Cave Mountain to public attention in 1898. Noticing steam flowing from a natural vent, they discovered passageways and voids filled with striking geological formations.…