Historical Markers in
Madison County, Montana

1863 - Virginia City - 1925 A Tough Business Adobetown Allen and Millard Bank An Important Era in Railroad History Anaconda Hotel Barlett’s Blacksmith Shop Belgium, Paris, New York, St. Louis, Virginia City Bethel United Methodist Church Boot Hill Browne's Bridge C. L. Dahler House Creighton Stone Block Dance and Stuart Store Dr. Don L. Byam Residence E. L. Smith Store Earthquakes! Elling Bank F.R. Merk Block Fight of the Century and Flour Riots Finney House Frank Prasch Blacksmith Shop G. Goldberg Store Gallows Barn Garnets, Vigilantes and Gold Dredges Gold in Alder Gulch Green Front Boarding House Hangman’s Building History Wins! J.B. LaBeau, Jeweler J.F. Stoer Saloon Jefferson River - Beaverhead River Kiskadden’s Stone Block Kramer Building Lewis & Clark Camped Here Madison County Fairgrounds Madison County Pioneers Metropolitan Meat Market Montana’s Oldest Standing School Motoring Through Paradise: The Vigilante Trail Nevada City Old Masonic Temple Pavilion Pfouts and Russel Raynolds' Pass Recognizing her people's land Road Agent Trail Robber's Roost Rope Drive Compressor Wheels S. R. Buford & Company S.L. Simpson Building Sacajawea, "Pomp" and Seaman Sauerbier Blacksmith Shop Sheave Wheels from the Speculator Mine Sheridan Montana - The Heart of the Ruby Valley Site of First Masonic Meetings Site of the Trial and Hanging of George Ives Smith & Boyd Livery Stable Spacious Victorian Luxury Square Building Stonewall Hall Strasburger’s Colorado Store The Bozeman Trail The Buford Block The Jefferson Valley The Mount Vernon Dredge The Remarkable Sarah Bickford The Seismic Shake that Shaped this Lake The Shining Mountains The Trail of Lewis & Clark Thompson-Hickman Library and Museum Traveler's Crossroads for Centuries Virginia City Virginia City National Historic Landmark District Welcome to Beaverhead Gateway Ranch Which way did they go? "...a handsome little river..."
The state of Montana has a rich Native American history, with several tribes, including the Blackfeet, Crow, Salish, and Kootenai, having lived in the region for thousands of years. Many Native American traditions and customs are still practiced in Montana today, including powwows and traditional beadwork.
Madison County, Montana, has a rich history that dates back to prehistoric times. Native American tribes, such as the Shoshone, Bannock, and Salish, first inhabited the region for thousands of years. In the early 1800s, European explorers, including the famous Lewis and Clark expedition, made their way through Madison County, leaving behind a record of their encounters in the area.

In the mid-19th century, the discovery of gold in Montana led to a mass influx of miners, and Madison County experienced its own gold rush. In 1863, gold was discovered along Alder Gulch, resulting in the establishment of several mining towns, including Virginia City and Nevada City. These towns quickly grew into bustling communities, attracting fortune seekers from all over. While the gold rush eventually faded, the remnants of this era can still be seen today with preserved historic buildings and artifacts.

Agriculture became increasingly important in Madison County as the mining boom declined. The fertile soil and favorable climate made it ideal for farming and ranching. Farmers cultivated crops like wheat, oats, and barley, while ranchers raised cattle, sheep, and horses. Irrigation systems were developed to support agriculture, and the county's economy became more dependent on these industries.

Over time, Madison County has also become a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. Encompassing part of the stunning Yellowstone National Park and the world-renowned Madison River, the county attracts outdoor enthusiasts from around the globe. Today, Madison County is a blend of its rich history, vibrant agricultural communities, and thriving tourism sector, making it a unique and captivating place to visit or call home.

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

  • 1805 - The Lewis and Clark expedition passes through the future Madison County area.
  • Late 1800s - Trappers and fur traders establish temporary camps in the region.
  • 1862 - Gold is discovered in Alder Gulch, leading to a gold rush and the establishment of Virginia City.
  • 1864 - Montana Territory is officially created, which includes present-day Madison County.
  • 1864 - Madison County is established and named after U.S. President James Madison.
  • Late 1800s - Ranching becomes a prominent industry in the county.
  • 1901 - Madison County Courthouse is built in Virginia City.
  • 1957 - Ennis becomes the new county seat, replacing Virginia City.
  • 1977 - Madison-Boulder Earthquake, with a magnitude of 5.8, causes damage in the county.
  • Present - Madison County is known for its beautiful landscapes, outdoor recreational activities, and historic sites.