Helena

— Archaeological evidence indicates that people have occupied the greater Helena area for approximately 12,000 years. Although the valley never served as the permanent home for any single American Indian tribe, it became a "transitional zone" through which such tribes as the Blackfeet, the Salish, the Crow and the Bannock moved regularly. Similarly, members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, following the upper Missouri River, crossed the valley in both 1805 and 1806. (Helena Chamber of Commerce)

— The State Capitol building is a fine example of Greek Renaissance architecture, and the murals inside depict Montana historical themes. There are still many splendid 19th-century mansions in perfect condition scattered around the city and the downtown area has several original buildings still serving as city offices and new businesses. Among the most impressive structures remaining, the St. Helena Cathedral was constructed along the lines of a cathedral in Cologne, Germany and the Votive Church in Vienna. Its twin spires reach majestically 230 feet toward the heavens and the interior boasts gold leaf and mosaic windows extensively. (helenamontana.com)

— In 1875, the territorial capital was moved from Virginia City to Helena. When Montana became a state, the fight for the location of the state capital pitted Copper King Marcus Daly of Anaconda against rival William A. Clark, who supported Helena. Helena won, and in October 1898, ground was broken for the State Capitol Building. (visitmt.com)

 

Butte

— Butte was once known worldwide as The Richest Hill on Earth. A combination of geologic circumstances produced a mineral wealth that made hundreds of men rich, and, more importantly, gave high-paying jobs and opportunities to thousands upon thousands of immigrants from much of the rest of the world. An oft-told story is of immigrants being told, “Don’t stop in America, go straight to Butte!’’ (written by Larry Hoffman for Mining History Association)

— Today, Butte is home to one of the nation's largest National Historic Landmark Districts, with more than 4,000 historic structures scattered across the Hill. These include some of the country's first tall buildings, elegant mansions, vintage Victorian homes, boarding houses and hotels, and miner's cottages that once provided shelter for an estimated 100,000 people. (Mainstreet Uptown Butte)

— Our Lady of the Rockies, a 90-foot statue, sits atop the Continental Divide at 8,510-feet elevation on the East Ridge overlooking Butte. The statue, lighted and visible at night, is a spectacular site to behold. The base of the nondenominational statue was poured with 400 tons of concrete in September 1985. On Dec. 17, 1985, a Nevada Air National Guard team lifted the statue in four sections with a CHAR Sikorsky Sky Crane from Butte 3,500 feet to the top of the ridge. (Our Lady of the Rockies website)

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