The University of Montana, located in Missoula, is one of the oldest universities in the western United States, founded in 1893. It is known for its strong programs in creative writing, wildlife biology, and environmental studies.
Beaverhead County, Montana, has a rich and storied history that dates back thousands of years. Native American tribes such as the Shoshone, Bannock, and Nez Perce inhabited the region for centuries before the arrival of European settlers. The Lewis and Clark expedition passed through the area in 1805, leaving behind a significant historical footprint. The expedition documented the local flora, fauna, and geography, opening up the possibility of future exploration and settlement.

In the mid-19th century, gold was discovered along the Beaverhead River, leading to a rush of prospectors seeking their fortune. The settlement of Bannack quickly grew and became the first territorial capital of Montana in 1864. However, Bannack's glory days were short-lived, and Virginia City emerged as the new focal point of the area's mining activity. Virginia City became the capital in 1875 before ultimately losing the title to Helena in 1877.

During the late 19th century, ranching and agriculture began to flourish in Beaverhead County, thanks to its fertile land and abundant water sources. Cattle and sheep ranching became some of the primary economic activities in the region, with homesteaders and ranchers establishing themselves in the county. The arrival of the railroad in the late 19th century further boosted the local economy, facilitating the transportation of goods and providing a crucial link between the county and the rest of Montana.

Today, Beaverhead County is known for its spectacular natural beauty, including the majestic Rocky Mountains, vast grasslands, and the iconic Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. The county continues to be a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities such as fishing, hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. With a population that continues to grow steadily, Beaverhead County remains an important and thriving part of Montana's history and culture.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Beaverhead County, Montana.

  • Before 1800: Beaverhead County is inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Shoshone, Bannock, and Nez Perce.
  • 1805: Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark explore the region as part of their expedition commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson.
  • 1864: Beaverhead County is officially established by the Montana Territorial Legislature.
  • 1862-1868: Gold is discovered in various areas of Beaverhead County, leading to a gold rush and the establishment of several mining towns.
  • 1881: The Utah and Northern Railway reaches Beaverhead County, providing improved transportation and boosting the local economy.
  • Late 1800s-early 1900s: Ranching becomes a significant industry in Beaverhead County, with cattle herds growing and agricultural activities expanding.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression affects Beaverhead County, causing economic hardships and a decline in mining and agricultural activities.
  • 1930-1970: Beaverhead County experiences a population decline due to economic factors and the impact of World War II.
  • 1980s-present: Beaverhead County sees a resurgence in its economy, with a focus on tourism, outdoor recreation, and agriculture.