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.