Area Information


Helena was established in 1864, after the discovery of gold along Last Chance Creek. Its main street, Last Chance Gulch, follows the winding path of the original creek through the historic downtown district. Originally named Crabtown, after one of the founding "Four Georgians," it was changed to Helena after Saint Helena, Minnesota.

By 1888, Helena was home to 50 millionaires per capita, more than any other city on earth. Many of those millionaires created palatial homes in the city's Mansion District.

Among them is the Original Governor's Mansion, a Queen Anne-style house that was built in 1888 and housed 10 Montana governors from 1913 to 1959. The district is also home to the spectacular 230-foot spires of St. Helena Cathedral. Slightly north of the Mansion District is Reeder's Alley, a restored 1870's miner's village.

The circa 1876 Old Fire Tower overlooks Helena and is one of the few structures of its kind left in the United States. Other historic attractions include the recently restored Greek Renaissance State Capitol building and the Montana Historical Society Museum.

Fort Harrison, on the western edge of town, was the World War II birthplace of the U.S.-Canadian Special Services Force, immortalized in the war movie "The Devil's Brigade." It is now home to the Montana Military Museum.

Helena's blend of beauty and historical heritage attracts a wide variety of artists and performers. Downtown is filled with galleries, antique shops and studios. The Holter Museum of Art features the regional fine arts and crafts. Helena also celebrates its artistic heritage with the "Last Chance Bear Encounters" art auction. For nearly 3 decades, the Western Rendezvous of Art has auctioned hundreds of paintings and sculptures from the West's most talented artists.


Public elementary/middle schools in Helena include the C.R. Anderson Middle School, Helena Middle School, Four Georgians School, Rossiter School, Smith School, Warren School, Jim Darcy School, Bryant School, Broadwater School and Kessler Elementary School. Public high schools include Capital High School and Helena High School.

Colleges and universities in Helena include Carroll College and Helena College of Technology of the University of Montana. Near colleges include Montana State University-Bozeman, the University of Montana-Missoula, Ricks College, Montana State University-Billings, Idaho State University and more.

Hospitals and medical centers in and near Helena include Shodair Children's Hospital, St Peters Community Hospital, Broadwater Health Center, Powell County Memorial Hospital and St James Healthcare.

Winter recreation sites include 3 major snowmobile trail systems within 30 minutes of Helena. The Marysville area provides 45 miles of trails and the Minnehaha-Rimini area features 120 miles of groomed trails. The Magpie-Sunshine area offers 45 miles of trails and spectacular views of the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness. Downhill skiers will enjoy Great Divide Mountain, which provides 60+ runs. Cross-country skiers can choose from many different trails including 4 loop trails at MacDonald Pass and Stemple Pass.

If someone tells you to take a hike, you can head on out to the nearby Blackfoot Meadows and Continental Divide Trail, which offer views of surrounding scenic beauty plus moose, elk, black bears, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. The 1.5-million-acre Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, with 1,800 miles of hiking trails, stretches all the way to Glacier National Park.

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