Big Sky Chronicles: L&C County Courthouse

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There are several buildings throughout the city of Helena which carry a historic past.

However, none as much as the Lewis and Clark County Courthouse.  Beartooth NBC’s Drew Steele has the story in this week's Big Sky Chronicles.  Since the late 1800's the Lewis and Clark County Courthouse has played a significant role in Montana history.

Built back in the late 1800’s, the courthouse was the first building of its kind to be made with Brownstone.  Interpretive historian, Ellen Baumler, says the construction of the courthouse changed the way buildings looked.

Baumler says, "I think the court house is probably the most historic landmark in Helena because it's early 1886 and because it was the Capitol building, territorial and state."

Baumler says after statehood was declared, the courthouse became the State Capitol until the one standing today was built in 1902.  Baumler also says through the years pieces of the courthouse have been lost due to natural disasters.

Baumler says before the turn of the century the courthouse building represented the most prominent building for the state of Montana.  Baumler says the courthouse has a few significant features built into the structure.

Baumler says, "Unfortunately, or fortunately the clock tower was damaged in the earthquakes of 1935 which is the anniversary October of the great earthquakes, and the clock tower fell and the courtroom judges were not terribly unhappy about that because the clocks never did keep very good time."  

A visible history can also be seen on the outside walls of the courthouse.  With the implementation of railways, the courthouse's construction helped change the way buildings in Helena looked.

Baumler says the courthouse is the only standing former territorial and State Capitol building in the state of Montana.


Story by Drew Steele, Beartooth NBC.
Sponsored by Big Sky Plumbing & Heating of Helena.
Copyright ©2012 Beartooth Communications Company. All Rights Reserved.


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Big Sky Chronicles, ellen baumler, Lewis and Clark County Courthouse, State Capitol building

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