“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Montana Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on January 22, 2021

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Montana ranks 32nd among states and provinces with markers in this database. Montana is a state in the United States of America located in the American West. It is also in the Mountains region. Montana is some 147 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 1.1 million people. The state is divided into 56 counties and 48 of them have entries in this database. In Montana we have discovered historical markers in 153 cities and towns lying in 151 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 1,187 historical markers in Montana, by our count. We have cataloged 1,187 historical markers and 24 war memorials—each individually presented on 1,205 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first Montana marker in the database, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, was added December 20, 2007. It was photographed in Crow Agency in Big Horn County. The last one added was submitted on January 21, 2021, and titled Howard School. It is near Spanwell in Rosebud County. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, one of the earliest historical markers we know of in Montana was erected in 1908. More than one was erected that year. This one of them: Spanish-American War Veterans Memorial, and one of our correspondents found it in Butte in Silver Bow County on February 22, 2020.

Montana Historical Topics
337 • Industry and Commerce
299 • Architecture
207 • Settlements and Settlers
154 • Native Americans
142 • Exploration
124 • Notable Buildings
101 • Indian Wars
85 • Roads and Vehicles
67 • Waterways and Vessels
66 • Railroads and Streetcars
    ... and others ...

Montanans don’t want to forget their Industry and Commerce history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Montana about Industry and Commerce—337 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Architecture with 299 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Industry and Commerce topic was Kerchival City, added July 29, 2008. It had been erected in Mosby in Garfield County. The last one submitted was submitted on January 20, 2021, and titled Meyerhoff Residence. It had been erected in Forsyth in Rosebud County. The earliest marker erected with the Industry and Commerce topic that we have listed was erected in 1925. It is Bannack, found in Dillon in Beaverhead County on February 23, 2020.

What is the most interesting historical marker in Montana? What we know is that Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is the most viewed entry in the database from Montana since it was added in 2007. This year so far, the most viewed Montanan entry is located in Forsyth in Rosebud County. It is Choisser Block.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Montana county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Missoula County, with 134 of them. It is followed closely by Flathead County with 129 markers. The Missoula area of Missoula County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 109. In Flathead County the area with the most markers, 101, is Kalispell.

Historical Markers in These
Montana Counties
134 • Missoula County
129 • Flathead County
101 • Chouteau County
78 • Cascade County
64 • Madison County
62 • Rosebud County
55 • Fergus County
53 • Custer County
49 • Big Horn County
47 • Gallatin County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Montana with the most markers we again find Missoula at the top of the list with 109 markers in or near it. And Kalispell also shows up again in next place, with 101 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 59901 at the top of the list with 101 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 59901 is assigned to Kalispell MT including the Creston, and Evergreen delivery areas.) It is followed by ZIP Code 59442 with 74 markers. (59442 is assigned to Fort Benton MT.)

Historical Markers Near These
Montana Cities and Towns
109 • Missoula
101 • Kalispell
74 • Fort Benton
61 • Great Falls
51 • Forsyth
49 • Lewistown
49 • Miles City
49 • Virginia City
43 • Crow Agency
24 • Havre
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Missoula County, the first marker added to the database from there, Sand Park Cemetery, was added January 28, 2014. near Bonner. The last one submitted was uploaded on January 20, 2020, and is titled Apartment Building at 116 West Spruce, in Missoula. The earliest marker erected in Missoula County that we have listed was erected in 1925. It was Travellers Rest, found near Lolo on September 13, 2018.

Latest entry from Montana. Click to go there
By Barry Swackhamer, September 14, 2020
Latest Entry from Montana
“Howard School”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Kalispell. The first: Dean Rental Property, was added November 15, 2020. The last: Graham House added on November 29, 2020.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

The Montana Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the Montana Historical Society, is currently in charge of official historical markers found all over the state. You will also find official markers erected by the Montana Highway Commission, a predecessor. They erected their first marker in 1935, and we have 134 of their markers in the database.

In addition, the Montana Historical Society—not government affiliated—also erected numerous historical markers, and we have 472 of their Montana markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from Montana. Click to go there
By Cosmos Mariner, July 2, 2013
A Montana Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the Montana Historical Society, Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Montana have been marked with history. Check out Judith Basin County, Pondera County and Fallon County. We've only found two historical markers in the first and one in each of the other two. Visiting one or more of these parts of Montana might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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Jan. 22, 2021