Arrival of the Milwaukee Railroad caused Three Forks to move (1908-1910) one mile up the Missouri River from its 1863 townsite, as happened with many sister towns in the developing West. Milwaukee Railroad purchasing agent John Q. Adams saw need for a hotel to serve travelers and residents, and he thriftily purchased the Madison House (built 1862) and had it moved from the “old town” on log rollers. The Madison House’s front half is the apartment wing on the northeast end of the hotel, and its rear half forms the main kitchen, a dining room, and staff rooms in the southeast wing. The 1910 construction houses the main lobby and hotel rooms. With the Milwaukee Railroad depot across the street, the Sacajawea Hotel promptly became a business and social center for the area. Only five years later, the railroad removed most of its facilities, slowing Three Forks’ growth. The formal exterior proclaims the Sacajawea as a classic pioneer town grand hotel, but its Arts and Crafts style interior is warmly informal and welcoming, as intended by Bozeman architect Fred Willson.

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5 Main Street, Three Forks, Montana