The most imposing building in town is the State Capitol, symbol of the authority of Montana.
After a bitter and controversial fight for the capital title with Anaconda, Helena won after a controversed statewide election. Construction of the Capitol started in 1899 and the building was open on July 4th 1902.
In front of the building is a statue of general Thomas Francis Meagher that was added in 1905. He was an officer in the Union Army and replaced the governor of the territory of Montana when he was away. He also wrote a draft of Constituion for Montana, in case it would become a state. He died misteriously in Fort Benton on the Missouri River while waiting for a gun shipment. To this day, no one knows if he drowned or was murdered.
A few years later, as Montana grew, other wings were added to the building.
The Capitol is now undergoing a renovation so, the statue might not be here and the building can be accessed through the back entrance.
Boat trip on Holter lake into spectacular canyon area so named by Lewis and Clark. Historic and stunning scenery.
Option of camping/picnic in Mann Gulch, immortalized by Norm McLean's _Young Men and Fire_, take one boat out, take a later one back.
Bring a jacket, even in the summer, though. It can get astonishingly cold when the sun ducks behind a cloud.
Located in the new Great Northern Center is a beautifully designed carousel. It is indoors so you can enjoy it anytime of the year! It costs only a dollar a ride and they have fantastic ice cream from the old Ice Cream Parlour. I highly suggest visiting the carousel whether you have children or not!
The Capitol Building in Helena rests on what amounts to one of the city's terraces leading into the foothills of the Rockies. Its front lawn during the right times of the year spells the word MONTANA using three different species of flowers. An equestrian statue of territorial governor Thomas Meagher stands out front (Meagher either drowned or was murdered on the Missouri River under mysterious circumstances in 1867.)
Trolley rides give a general tour of downtown which has the feel of a mid-size town anywhere else in rural America.
Wildlife can sometimes be seen from the boat. This photograph shows one of the many animals likely to observed while touring this stretch of the Missouri. Note his regal apperance. He may be the most photographed Bald Eagle in America. :)
Suddenly, there loomed before them towering rock formations unlike any they had ever seen. From both sides of the river, limestone cliffs rose to a spectacular height of 1200 feet. 'The rocks seem ready to tumble on us'. At each bend in the waterway, great stone walls seem to block passage, only to open like gentle giant gates as the expedition drew near. 'I shall call this place: Gates of the Mountains'.
a couple of quotes from Lewis' journal.
Entering the Gates of the Mountains from the north. This view is how the gate way appears on the return portion of the trip. The marina is located at the south entrance to the Gates where the tour begins. Take I-15 north of Helena approximately for 18 miles. Take the exit that specifies this site, and drive to the marina.
Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts
This is an amazing place if you have any apprecation for ceramic or have ever taken a ceramics class. It is internationally known for its excellence. Many world famous potters and sculptors have spent time here. In the Bray Gallery you are able to purchase pottery and sculpture. Also a walking tour of the grounds is available.
The next couple of photographs are in memory of the 13 US Forest Service smokejumpers that gave their lives in this canyon while fighting the 1949 Mann Gulch fire.
This rock formation is called the 'Eye of the Rhino'. Notice the opening in the rock formation resembling the Rhino's eye and the pointed rock formation below the eye, resembling the horn.