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All Tours: 16

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team | 19 Locations

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…

Tour curated by: Christopher Gray | 30 Locations

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…

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team | 19 Locations

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…

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team | 8 Locations

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…

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team | 23 Locations

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…

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team | 3 Locations

Pennsylvania native John Castner discovered rich coal deposits along Belt Creek in 1870. Within just a few years, he and Fort Benton trader T. C. Power opened a commercial coal mine near here. The partners sold coal for use by the Great Northern…

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team | 15 Locations

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…

Tour curated by: The Montana National Register Sign Program | 4 Locations

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…

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team | 13 Locations

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…

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team | 15 Locations

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…

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team | 5 Locations

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…

Tour curated by: The Montana National Register Sign Program | 5 Locations

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…

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team | 7 Locations

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,…

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team | 18 Locations

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…

Tour curated by: Jeff Malcomson | 6 Locations

The establishment of governance in the area eventually to become Montana is a decisive example of order in a frontier region. Upon arrival in what was then Idaho Territory, settlers and gold-seekers established quasi-governments to bring order and…

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team | 16 Locations

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,…

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