Montana State Capital: Helena
Helena, Montana takes its name from Saint Helena, Minnesota. Many of the miners who inhabited the town in the 1860s were from Minnesota, and so, when discussing possible names, began throwing around the names of their hometowns. The names Winona and Rochester were also discussed, as were Pumpkinville and Squashtown (the meeting took place on the day before Halloween), but, in the end, Helena won out.
Helena is the county seat of Lewis and Clark County. It was founded as a gold camp during the Montana gold rush, and was established in 1864. Over $3.6 billion of gold was extracted in the city limits over a duration of two decades, making it one of the wealthiest cities in the United States by the late nineteenth century. The concentration of wealth contributed to the city’s prominent, elaborate Victorian architecture. The city is served by Helena Regional Airport (HLN).
Montana WILD: is the new conservation education center located on the west side of town adjacent to the popular Spring Meadow Lake state park. It’s operated by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and invites visitors to enjoy the state’s outstanding fish and wildlife resources. Here you’ll find an engaging fish and wildlife exhibit, a live Montana fish aquarium, an outdoor picnic area, and all the information you need to enjoy Montana’s great outdoors. The center offers regular educational programs on a variety of topics. Montana WILD offers convenient access to the 60-acre state park where you can explore, play, swim, fish, hike, or just hang out.
Lewis & Clark: The Montana Experience: Journey back to the early 1800s and retrace the footsteps of Lewis & Clark as they journeyed through Montana. See what the Corps of Discovery saw as they traveled by foot over scenic mountains and by boat through the clear waters. Follow an etching of the Missouri River along one side of the pedestrian plaza and the Yellowstone along the other side, experiencing several of the journey’s highlights along the way. This permanent outdoor exhibit located at the Great Northern Town Center is a cooperative project with Lewis & Clark Trail Commission. Visitors to this exhibit will enjoy and learn about 19 historical sites from Montana’s Lewis & Clark Trail such as the Gates of the Mountains, Pompey’s Pillar, Great Falls/Portage and the Three Forks of the Missouri. Enormous boulders, for example, form the Interpretive Exhibit’s version of Pompey’s Pillar, complete with bison prints and a replica of Clark’s signature. The easy interpretive signage will guide you on your journey of Lewis & Clark’s Montana Experience. The outdoor exhibit is surrounded by restaurants, a Carousel, a coffee shop, a children’s museum, a cinema, shopping and the Best Western Premier Great Northern Hotel.
Original Governor’s Mansion: This stately Queen Anne style mansion has enjoyed both public and private roles in the history of Montana and its capital city. The history of the mansion is as much a history of the people who resided here as it is of a building. Montana’s Original Governor’s Mansion, built in 1888 by Helena entrepreneur William Chessman as a symbol of his wealth and influence throughout the Helena community. The next two owners, continued the pattern of affluent living. In 1913 the State of Montana acquired this handsome brick mansion as the first official governor’s residence for nearly half a century. Between 1913 and 1959, it was home to nine Montana governors and their families.
Montana State Capitol: The Capitol is open for self-guided tours Monday-Saturday year-round from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Self-guided tour booklets are available at the information desk on the first floor of the Capitol. Discover the buildings magnificent history, ornate art, classical architecture and function as the seat of the state’s government.
Activities around Helena include:
Hiking: Helena, Montana offers over 80 miles of trails that you can access right from Downtown. These trails are part of the South Hills Trail System and are managed by the Prickly Pear Land Trust cooperatively with the City of Helena, Helena National Forest and Bureau of Land Management.
Fishing: Montana fishing is legendary. Anglers from all over the world travel to Montana to experience fly fishing. Whether your here to battle trout on your own or want someone to show you the ropes of Montana fishing, Helena has the water ways for you.
Boating: There are three wonderful water recreation lakes; Canyon Ferry is great for sailing, Hauser lake is warm, close to town with great beaches and Holter lake is great for a scenic trip and wildlife viewing.
Helena is serviced by Helena Regional Airport. It will take a connection flight from Tampa. There are several major airlines that do fly into this airport. Please let us know when you want to go and TravelKatz will put a fabulous vacation together for you and your family and friends. Just give us a call at 352-277-7300.
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