Montana July 16, 2019
The Unique Montana City That’s Brimming With Local History
Montana is called the Last Best Place for many reasons, one of which being the local history we believe should be well-preserved. Our museums and historic sites are second to none, and you’ll find pieces of our past in every town. But when it comes to representing everything from famous outlaws to all things prehistoric, no city does it better than Billings.
Billings is Montana's largest city, and it's safe to say it's thriving.
From all the delicious dining options and breweries to the weekly Alive After 5 concerts, there's always something going on here.
Billings is presently a pretty great place, and its future looks bright.
However, this is not a city that has forgotten its past. You'll find monuments to Montana's history all over town (and in the surrounding areas).
The Western Heritage Center is a great place to start a Billings history tour.
This museum and cultural center is located in a beautiful historic library building, and it's dedicated to promoting and preserving Western culture.
Western Heritage Center Address: 2822 Montana Avenue, Billings, MT, 59101
If you'd like to go back much, much further, check out Pictograph State Park.
This will take you all the way back to the origins of human habitation in Montana.
The Pictograph Cave site is a designated National Historic Landmark, and plenty of the pictographs are still visible.
The oldest rock art in the cave is said to be over 2,000 years old.
Pictograph State Park Address: 3401 Coburn Road, Billings, MT, 59101
And to go way, way back in time (and take in sweeping views of the city), take a trip to the Rimrocks.
The Rimrocks are geological rimrock sandstone formations on the outskirts of Billings, and they were formed over millions of years. In addition to the geological history, this site was (and still is) a spiritual area for Native Americans. At the end of the Rimrocks is Sacrifice Cliff, which, according to local legend, is the site where two Crow warriors rode horses over the cliff to their deaths after finding a tribal encampment nearly wiped out by smallpox.
The Moss Mansion also plays an important role in our the area's history.
Constructed in 1903, this was once the home of Preston Boyd Moss, a prominent local figure, as well as his wife and children. The mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it's even rumored to be haunted by some of the family members.
Moss Mansion Address: 914 Division Street, Billings, MT, 59101
Quite a few historic figures have lived in or passed through Billings, including the Lewis and Clark Expedition. However, the most notorious is definitely Calamity Jane.
Known for chewing tobacco and engaging in drunken outbursts, Martha Canary (Calamity Jane) lived in Billings in a log cabin for quite a while. Rumor has it that she was locked in the cell on display within the Yellowstone Art Museum (pictured above).
Yellowstone Art Museum Address: 401 North 27th Street, Billings, MT, 59101
Billings is a wonderful city for history buffs. It also happens to be a
great place for foodies as well.