Historical Markers in
Cascade County, Montana

305 Third Avenue North 315 Fourth Avenue North A "great" Set of Falls A.W. Kingsbury House Abe and Carrie Kaufman Residence Anaconda Company Manager's House Arvon Block Belt Commercial Historic District Belt Jail Bird Tail Rock Black Eagle Falls Boyd House Bus Depot and Garage C.E. Davis Residence Cascade County Courthouse Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Depot Commanding Officer's Quarters Commissary of the Plains Cowboys Bar and Museum Dubbs Block Explorers at the Portage F.W. Woolworth Building First Methodist Church First United Methodist Church Parsonage Formation of the Gorge and Falls Fort Shaw Fort Shaw Fort Shaw Government Industrial Indian School Giant Fountain Great Falls Central Business Historic District Great Falls Civic Center Great Falls West Bank Historic District Lemon Boarding House Lewis & Clark Portage Route Liberty Theatre Malmstrom Air Force Base Masonic Temple McCulloh Residence Methodist Parsonage Mobile Villages Mountains, Belt Butte, and the Great Falls Coal Field Murphy Maclay Hardware Store Neihart Mining District's Heyday New Park Hotel Northside Residential Historic District Of Special Concern One of Many Firsts Pure Springs Along the Missouri River Quigley House Robert Vaughn Homestead/The Captain Couch Ranch S.H. Kress and Company Sacajawea Island Seaman: Companion to the Corps St. Ann's Cathedral Steamboats, Bull Whackers, and Fish Trains Sun River Crossing T.E. Collins Mansion Terrill Apartments The Ace in the Hole The Army's Navy The Experiment The Falls: Obstacle or Opportunity The Great Falls of the Missouri River The Mining Legacy The Portage Around the Falls The Smallest River Runs Through It The Sun River Leaving The Ten Who Died In Service These Springs Have Witnessed... Toole Residence Undisputed Champions Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church Ursuline Academy W.K. Floweree House Where Does the Water Come From? William & Isabel Shea House "East Belt" Ventilation Fan "Nibbles"
In 1972, the Montana Constitution was rewritten and adopted, becoming one of the most progressive state constitutions in the United States. It includes provisions for public access to streams and rivers, protection of the environment, and guarantees of individual privacy and civil rights.
Cascade County, Montana is located in the heart of the state and has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The area was originally inhabited by several Native American tribes, including the Blackfeet, Assiniboine, and Gros Ventre. These tribes utilized the land for hunting, fishing, and gathering, and their presence left a lasting impact on the region.

In the early 1800s, European fur trappers ventured into the area, establishing trade relationships with Native American tribes. The Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805-1806 also played a significant role in the exploration and mapping of the region. The first permanent settlement in Cascade County, Sun River, was established in the 1860s, primarily for trading purposes.

The late 19th century saw the arrival of miners seeking gold and silver in the nearby mountains. The discovery of precious metals led to the establishment of mining camps and the rapid growth of towns like Neihart and Barker. The completion of the Montana Central Railroad in 1887 further stimulated economic development, fostering the growth of agriculture and helping establish Great Falls as the county seat.

In the 20th century, Cascade County experienced significant changes due to the development of hydroelectric power from the Missouri River. In 1910, the Rainbow Dam was constructed, followed by the Ryan Dam in the 1950s and the Gibson Dam in the 1920s. These projects not only provided electricity but also attracted industry to the area. Great Falls became a major center for manufacturing, particularly in the aerospace industry, with the establishment of the Malmstrom Air Force Base in the 1950s.

Today, Cascade County continues to thrive as a hub of commerce, industry, and recreation. It is home to a diverse population and offers a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, hiking, and skiing. The county's rich history, from its Native American roots to its mining heyday and industrial growth, contributes to its unique cultural heritage and makes it a fascinating place to explore.

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

  • Early 1800s - Various Native American tribes, including the Blackfeet and Salish, inhabit the area that is now Cascade County.
  • 1805 - The Lewis and Clark Expedition passes through the area on their journey west.
  • 1860s - Gold is discovered in the area, leading to an influx of prospectors and the establishment of mining camps.
  • 1880 - The town of Great Falls is founded near the Missouri River, becoming the county seat of Cascade County.
  • 1887 - The Great Northern Railway reaches Great Falls, boosting the town's economy and population.
  • 1900 - Great Falls becomes the largest city in Montana, thanks to its thriving industries such as mining, agriculture, and hydroelectric power.
  • 1920s - The construction of the Rainbow Dam and the creation of the Rainbow Falls Reservoir bring further economic growth to the county.
  • 1940s - Great Falls Air Force Base is established during World War II, playing a significant role in the local economy and defense efforts.
  • 1955 - The Gibson Dam is completed, providing irrigation and hydroelectric power to agricultural areas in Cascade County.
  • 1990s - The county experiences a decline in its traditional industries, leading to efforts to diversify the economy through tourism and technology sectors.