History Buffs

History Buffs

Established in 1882 and known as the "Magic City" given its rapid growth, Billings boasts a rich culture and heritage that can be experienced in the present day at local museums, monuments and parks.

Visit Coulson Park and explore the early origins of Billings through the story of a town that just happened to be on the wrong side of the tracks. Boothill Cemetery, the burial ground for what would become the ghost town of Coulson, is listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places and open to visitors.

Become acquainted with important figures of Billings' past, like Yellowstone Kelly and Frederick Billings at the Yellowstone County Museum. Or tour the mansion of one of Billings' earliest and most notable residents, Preston Boyd Moss.

Then venture outside downtown Billings where the story of early eastern Montana unfolds. Trace regional history at Pompeys Pillar National Monument, home of the only remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and at the Indian Memorial at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

Historic Sites

Moss Mansion

Entrepreneur Preston Boyd Moss built the Moss Mansion in 1903. The property's inspired architecture, unrivaled craftsmanship and exquisite décor has been preserved for generations, giving visitors a glimpse into the past through the eyes of one of Billings' most influential families.


Historic Montana Avenue

Take a stroll through late-1880s Billings along Montana Avenue. Several buildings and landmarks of the era stand today, including the Billings Depot and the Rex hotel. The sturdy brick buildings still hold their architectural charm from a century ago.

Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site

Born to an affluent New York family, Luthur Sage (Yellowstone) Kelly obtained fine education, but yearned for the adventure the American west offered at the time. Kelly became one of the country's mos notable veterans and a Billings legend. Discover the full story at the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site at Swords Park.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Located less than an hour from Billings, LITTLE BIGHORN BATTLEFIELD NATIONAL MONUMENT memorializes the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn which took place on June 25-26, 1876 between the United States Seventh Cavalry Regiment led by Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, and the Sioux and Cheyenne under the political and spiritual leadership of Sitting Bull.

Pompeys Pillar National Monument

Retrace the Lewis and Clark Expedition at POMPEYS PILLAR NATIONAL MONUMENT, where William Clark carved his name into this sandstone lookout rock, some of the only remaining physical evidence of the Expedition.  

Pictograph Cave State Park

The PICTOGRAPH CAVE STATE PARK has been in the making for thousands of years! Explore three caves and see evidence of habitation from 2,000 years ago. Visit the Visitor Interpretive Center and explore ancient artifacts.

Notable Personalities of Billings:


Frederick Billings

Frederick Billings made a name for himself during the gold rush, eventually becoming California's first Attorney General. Billings purchased one of the original twelfth interests in the Northern Pacific Railway and served as its president. As the railway expanded, his legacy left a lasting impression. So much so, Billings, Montana was named after him.

Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan

Born in the late 19th century, Hunkins-Hallinan was a Billings native, women's rights activist and suffragist. After being denied the opportunity to teach chemistry because she was a woman, despite having earned her master's degree in the subject, she joined the National Women's Party that had been organizing in Montana and dedicated her life to equality for women.

Kevin Red Star

Renowned for his authentic works of art depicting Native American culture, Kevin Red Star grew up on the Crow reservation outside of Billings. His work has been featured at The Smithsonian Institution -National Museum of the American Indian, the Heard Museum in Phoenix (AZ), and the Whitney Museum of Western Art.