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

Belt in Cascade County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)

Belt Jail

Belt Jail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 18, 2019
1. Belt Jail Marker
Inscription.  Lewis and Clark named nearby Belt Butte for its girdle of rocks and, in 1877, John Castner named his town Belt. Coal brought Castner here, and Fort Benton was the first market for his Castner Coal Company. Then, in 1889, the Boston and Montana Consolidated Copper and Silver Mining Company built their reduction works at Great Falls— in part because of the availability of Belt coal. Castner sold his claims to the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, which had absorbed the Boston and Montana, and their mine soon employed a thousand men. The town experienced a boom time and in 1900 was Cascade County’s second-largest community, with a population above 2,800, including French, Finnish, Slav, German, and Swedish immigrants. It was during this boom that the jail was constructed, late in the 1890s, when 32 saloons flourished in town. Fire destroyed the Anaconda mine in 1915 and, in 1930, the smelters stopped using coal. Belt’s population fell off, but it remained a center for this agricultural area. The jail itself survived major floods in 1909 and 1953, and a 1976 fire caused by a train derailment, which destroyed five homes and three businesses.
Erected by
Belt Jail and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 18, 2019
2. Belt Jail and Marker
The Montana National Register Sign Program.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Montana National Register Sign Program marker series.
Location. 47° 23.163′ N, 110° 55.718′ W. Marker is in Belt, Montana, in Cascade County. Marker is on Castner Street (State Road 331) near 5th Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 37 Castner Street, Belt MT 59412, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 16 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "East Belt" Ventilation Fan (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Belt Commercial Historic District (about 600 feet away); Mountains, Belt Butte, and the Great Falls Coal Field (approx. 2.9 miles away); Steamboats, Bull Whackers, and Fish Trains (approx. 12.1 miles away); Formation of the Gorge and Falls (approx. 15˝ miles away).
More about this marker. The jail is home to the Belt Museum.
Categories. Law EnforcementSettlements & Settlers

More. Search the internet for Belt Jail.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 22, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 18, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 50 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 18, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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