Courthouse Historic District

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 discoveries, and the growth of the sheep industry quickly made Lewistown a regional supply center. Fergus County was created in 1885 with Lewistown as its seat. The district reflects the maturing of the town as a governmental and business center. C. E. Bell, one of the Montana Capitol’s architects, designed the 1904 stone jail. The elegant stone Carnegie library was built in 1905. The brick Fergus County Courthouse followed in 1907. The Lewistown Art Center is housed in what was once the Charles Lehman Bunkhouse. Lewistown’s first junior high school, built in 1921, is one of the later civic buildings in the district. Residences important for their historical associations and distinct designs cluster around these public buildings. Attorney William Blackford’s residence was built with materials such as finely milled lumber brought in on trains. The two David Hilger residences, one moved here from Fort Maginnis before 1900 and the other built of brick in 1913, recall the sheep rancher who participated in many important community projects.

William M. Blackford Residence

Fine stone masonry is beautifully displayed in this powerful expression of early-twentieth-century architecture. Combining the Victorian fondness for asymmetry with Classical Revival style details, local architects Wasmandorff and Eastman designed…

Lehman Bunkhouse

Two distinct buildings of different origins but with a shared purpose rest companionably side by side on this site today. Pioneer merchant Charles Lehman constructed the handsome stone segment in the 1890s as a rooming house for his unmarried male…

Lewistown Carnegie Library

Lewistown's first library opened in 1897 with 269 books in a corner of Mary Hanson's millinery shop. When Mrs. Hanson left town two years later, the collection moved to the office of Elizabeth Peeples, county superintendent of schools. In…