Old Billings, Montana: History and Images

Billings Montana c1915

Glimpse history through images of Billings, Montana, USA.

Billings in Montana, known as the Magic City, has several interesting sites which preserve its history.

Billings Union Depot

The Union Depot was built in 1909, at a time when the railroads were key to economic development. In one busy month of World War II, the depot sold almost 10,000 passenger tickets.

But the Union Depot site also became a popular focal point, drawing in huge crowds when the city was visited by Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Calamity Jane.

But in 1979, following falling passenger numbers for more than twenty years, the Union Depot saw its last passenger train depart.

Abandoned and falling into disrepair, the Union Depot was going to be demolished.

But then the 1992 movie Far and Away, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, used the Union Depot for several scenes.

It restored interest in this historic building, and in 1993 the Billings Preservation Society restored it to its former glory.

Montana History Minute: Hollywood inadvertently saves historic Billings building – Billings Gazette

Boothill Cemetary

The obelisk at Boothill Cemetary in Billings reads:

In memory of those who blazed the trail, and showed us our west, in boots and spurs they rest.

But with several gravemarking exercsises over the years, many of the graves are now unmarked and others may be positioned incorrectly, so in 2019 Dr Rust, the MSUB Professor of History, and five of his students began a project to identify potential graves and establish how many people were buried at Bootill Cemetary.

This news clip also includes some old photos of Boothill Cemetary.

MSUB professor studying old Boothill Cemetery on Billings Rims – KTVQ News on YouTube

Billings History Quiz

How many of these Billings history facts do you know? – Billings Gazette on YouTube

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