1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Helena (Montana)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

HELENA, a city and the county-seat of Lewis and Clark county, Montana, U.S.A., and the capital of the state, at the E. base of the main range of the Rocky Mountains, 80 m. N.E. of Butte, at an altitude of about 4000 ft. Pop. (1880) 3624; (1890) 13,834; (1900) 10,770, of whom 2793 were foreign-born; (1910 census) 12,515. It is served by the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific railways. Helena is delightfully situated with Mt Helena as a background in the hollow of the Prickly Pear valley, a rich agricultural region surrounded by rolling hills and lofty mountains, and contains many fine buildings, including the state capitol, county court house, the Montana club house, high school, the cathedral of St Helena, a federal building, and the United States assay office. It is the seat of the Montana Wesleyan University (Methodist Episcopal), founded in 1890; St Aloysius College and St Vincent’s Academy (Roman Catholic); and has a public library with about 35,000 volumes, the Montana state library with about 40,000 volumes, and the state law library with about 24,000 volumes. The city is the commercial and financial centre of the state (Butte being the mining centre), and is one of the richest cities in the United States in proportion to its population. It has large railway car-shops, extensive smelters and quartz crushers (at East Helena), and various manufacturing establishments; the value of the factory product in 1905 was $1,309,746, an increase of 68.7% over that of 1900. The surrounding country abounds in gold- and silver-bearing quartz deposits, and it is estimated that from the famous Last Chance Gulch alone, which runs across the city, more than $40,000,000 in gold has been taken. The street railway and the lighting system of the city are run by power generated at a plant and 40 ft. dam at Canyon Ferry, on the Missouri river, 18 m. E. of Helena. There is another great power plant at Hauser Plant, 20 m. N. of Helena. Three miles W. of the city is the Broadwater Natatorium with swimming pool, 300 ft. long and 100 ft. wide, the water for which is furnished by hot springs with a temperature at the source of 160°. Fort Harrison, a United States army post, is situated 3 m. W. of the city. Helena was established as a placer mining camp in 1864 upon the discovery of gold in Last Chance Gulch. The town was laid out in the same year, and after the organization of Montana Territory it was designated as the capital. Helena was burned down in 1869 and in 1874. It was chartered as a city in 1881.