Lewis & Clark County Courthouse
1887 - Today


Two Lewis & Clark County Courthouses, 228 Broadway, 1887


LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

This view is looking south-east. The small building was the second County Courthouse, which was replaced by the large new turreted one in 1887. For a time, the new building housed all territorial (later state) and county offices.

The small building was demolished soon after this photo was taken. The handsome clock tower was damaged in the 1935 earthquakes, taken down and not rebuilt.

 

National Register of Historic Places Sign Text

Lewis and Clark County Courthouse (228 Broadway)
Much Montana history unfolded within this magnificent landmark, which served as both territorial capitol (1887-1888) and state capitol (1889-1902). Here in 1889 officials received word of statehood, and three hours later J. K. Toole was sworn in as Montana’s first governor.

St. Paul architects Hodgson and Stem drew heavily upon the Romanesque Revival style as influenced by H. H. Richardson, creating a masterpiece that rivaled eastern counterparts. The well-laid granite walls boast exceptionally fine Bayfield brownstone trim from Wisconsin (the same brownstone of New York’s Fifth Avenue fame) and the interior appointments are also extraordinary.

The building’s splendid Norman clock tower presided over Helena until 1935, when earthquakes humbled its grandeur. The tower, fourth-story gables, and a heavy stone cornice, adornments of little use during the Depression era, were not replaced.

 

1889 Magazine Illustration

It also housed territorial offices at that time.

 

 

Courthouse Plaque, North Side, 2013


PHOTO BY KENNON BAIRD • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW

 


Spelling of "Lewis and Clarke" County Changed in 1905




The Courthouse Area, ca.1890

This beautiful photograph is from Jeff Sherlock, who writes:

"This photo shows the Presbyterian Church (1875-1890) at the corner of 5th and Ewing; this area is currently the County Courthouse parking lot. In the background we see the just-
completed courthouse and jail. This photo must have been taken from roof of the Chessman apts., in 1889 or 1890.

"Just over the right edge of the courthouse roof is the steeple of the old Methodist Church on Broadway."

Also, in the far left background, is the Lissner Elementary School, on the corner of South Warren and Pine.

Thanks, Jeff!

 


Stereo View

 

Old Postcard Views of the Courthouse

The granite turret of the Lewis & Clark County Jail can be seen on the left.

 

 


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD

County Court House, looking SE, ca. 1915. Note the large radio antenna extending from the clock tower.

 


Souvenir China, ca 1910







Courthouse and Grounds, circa 1904


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW

 


An Attractive Rider on Ewing Street, Date Unknown


COURTESY OF THE DAVID POOR COLLECTION • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW

 


Lewis & Clark County Courthouse, 1920s


COURTESY OF THE JEZICK FAMILY, VIA SEAN LOGAN • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW



Earthquake Damage and Repairs, 1935
View from the Southwest, Showing Damaged Stonework


COURTESY OF THE SEAN LOGAN COLLECTION • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW



Removal of the Clock Tower Underway


COURTESY OF THE DAVID POOR COLLECTION • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW



COURTESY OF THE DAVID POOR COLLECTION • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW


 

Independent Record Columnist Al Gaskill Writes About the Clock, 1964

 


South Side, Lewis & Clark County Courthouse, 1960s


LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

 

Go back to "OLD SOUTH MAIN"