National Register Listing in
Garfield County, Montana

The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through Montana in 1805-1806, on their journey to explore the western portion of the United States. They traveled up the Missouri River and crossed the Rocky Mountains, encountering many Native American tribes and documenting the flora and fauna of the region.
Garfield County, located in the eastern part of Montana, has a rich and fascinating history. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Crow tribes. European exploration and fur trading began in the early 1800s with the arrival of fur trappers and traders from the Hudson's Bay Company and American Fur Company. The Lewis and Clark Expedition also passed through the region in 1806.

In the late 1800s, settlers began to establish ranches and farms in Garfield County, attracted by the fertile land and abundant wildlife. The region experienced a population boom during this time, with the development of towns like Jordan and Mosby. In 1919, Garfield County was officially established, named after President James A. Garfield.

A significant event in the history of Garfield County was the construction of Fort Peck Dam in the 1930s. The dam, built on the Missouri River, provided irrigation water and hydroelectric power to the area, transforming the local economy. The construction of the dam also brought thousands of workers to the region, providing employment opportunities and boosting the population.

Today, Garfield County is known for its natural beauty, with vast prairies, rolling hills, and the nearby Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. It remains an agricultural area, with cattle ranching and wheat farming being the predominant industries. The county also attracts visitors for outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and birdwatching. Garfield County continues to preserve its history and heritage while embracing future opportunities for growth and development.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Garfield County, Montana.

  • 1919: Garfield County is established from parts of Dawson, McCone, and Prairie counties.
  • 1920: Jordan becomes the county seat.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression hits the county hard, leading to economic struggles.
  • 1940s: The county experiences a boom in oil exploration and production.
  • 1950s: Construction of Fort Peck Dam brings economic growth to the county.
  • 1973: The discovery of the large Zortman-Landusky gold deposit leads to mining activities in the county.
  • 1992: Garfield County Courthouse, constructed in 1935, is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 2001: The county experiences severe wildfires, causing significant damage.