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Montana (MT): State Guide and Fun Facts


When did Montana become a state?
November 8, 1889

Who were the first European explorers in Montana?
Pierre Gauliter and Sier de Varennes de la Verendrye

First Native American settlers:
Assiniboine, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kootenai, Salish, Sioux, Shoshone tribes

Square Miles:
147,046

US Rank:
4th

State Flower:
Bitterroot

State Bird:
Western Meadowlark

State Motto:
“Oro y Plata” Gold and Silver

Capital City

Helena – Helena was founded in 1864 after a group of gold prospectors struck gold nearby. They set up camp and the population of the area continued to grow. By 1888, the city was home to around 50 millionaires, most who gained their riches from gold mining. Since Helena had been the state capital of the Montana Territory, it was natural for it to become the state capital when Montana became a United State in 1889.

What is Montana famous for?

1. Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park was established in 1910 as a national park. It was given this formal recognition because of the area’s scenic mountain ranges, lakes, plants and animals. The park measures more than 1 million acres in size, and is visited by more than 2 million people annually. The area remains virtually untouched by human influence, a testament to the importance of designating national parks in the United States.

2. Little Bighorn Battlefield
Located in Big Horn County, Montana, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is the location of the battle that occurred there on June 25, 1876. The Battle of Little Bighorn is also called Custer’s Last Stand, because it was here that General George Custer was defeated by the Native Americans in the Great Sioux War of 1876. Other battles during the war took place at Powder River, Rosebud, Warbonnet Creek, Slim Buttes, Cedar Creek and Wolf Mountain.

3. Miles City Bucking Horse Sale
The World Famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale is an annual event that occurs in May each year in southeast Montana. It is serious businesses for rodeo executives who visit the sale each year to choose horses that will be showcased in rodeos around the country.
For visitors, the sale provides concerts, bull riding, horse racing, dancing, parades and other entertainment. It’s an event unique to Montana that celebrates the history of the sport and its roots in northwest America.

What is Montana’s economy?

1. Agriculture – The largest income generating agricultural product in Montana is livestock. The state’s vast expanses of plains make it ideal for enormous cattle ranches for the country’s leading meat producers. Addition agricultural exports from Montana include dairy products, wheat, barley, hay and sugar.

2. Manufacturing – Montana’s petroleum refineries contribute the largest percentage of income to the manufacturing sector. Additional manufacturing in Montana includes wood products such as lumber, plywood, pencils, prefab homes and telephone poles, food products and agricultural and mining machinery.

3. Services – The services industry in Montana is led by the production of small community businesses and personal services. Wholesale and retail trade are the runner up in percentage of income earned, followed by government services such as public schools, hospitals and military bases.

Montana Historical Landmarks

1. Bannack, Montana
A small ghost-town remains in Banack Montana, where once a thriving city with a population of 10,000 stood. In 1862, the location sprang to life when gold was discovered in the area. The town’s founders came from faraway states to strike it rich and give up their careers to become gold miners. The town has been completed abandoned for about 40 years, and now al that remains are six overgrown, derelict buildings that are a mere shadow of the prosperity that filtered through the region. In 1966, the town was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

2. Going-to-the-Sun Road
Winding its way through Glacier National Park is Going-to-the-Sun Road, the only road that travels through he park. The significance of the road, in addition to its beauty, is that it was one of the first roads built by the National Park Service in order to serve the tourism industry by automobile rather than by previous methods of transportation. The road was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and remains open to the public from June through October each year.

3. Lake McDonald Lodge
Architectural firm Cutter and Malmgram was responsible for the Swiss Chalet style hotel located within Glacier National Park in West Glacier, Montana. It was completed in 1913 by John Lewis, who believed that the area would be an important area for tourism within the state. He was helped by the construction of the Great Northern Railway, which brought tourists and visitors from all across the northern United States. The lodge itself features stone walls and floors with a large three-story lobby area with a stone fireplace and Indian inscriptions carved into the concrete floor.