The Montana Central Railroad Historical Marker


North of Craig,Craig 59648,Helena Area,Lewis and Clark County

Map Location

Historical Markers/Interpretive SignHistoric Sites
General info

Location: North of Craig

The Montana Central Railroad used to run on the tracks that follow Little Prickly Pear Creek and the highway. It was part of the railroad tycoon James J. Hill’s plan to build a vast transcontinental transportation system. As the Helena Weekly Herald reported: “The Montana Central was a scheme inaugurated by Col. Broadwater [of Helena] and countenanced by James J. Hill of St. Paul, president of Manitoba Railroad. Its birth was coetaneous with the decision of Mr. Hill to begin the extension of the Manitoba to Montana and the West."

Hill and other railroad magnates took the first through train from St. Paul to Helena on Nov. 18, 1887. At the very hour that locals were dressing the city in flags and bunting to welcome Hill and party, the Northern Pacific Railroad attempted to keep the Montana Central track laying crew from building across its line. The blockage attracted much attention and a hot exchange of words, but was settled quickly and without further incident, the track was completed. The Nov. 21 celebration was held as scheduled.

Helenans had rejoiced five years earlier when the Northern Pacific came to town because it meant competition for

About Us

Our mission is to provide the most comprehensive information site for the state of Montana. We welcome public input and comments.


1627 W. Main #447
Bozeman, MT 59715

Contact Us

Created with love by New Times Media Corporation

We're New Times Media - a friendly and fun group of people. At New Times Media we love to share anything and everything we know about the great state of Montana, so we created this site to make learning about our state as easy as possible. Our site is free to use and has the simplest possible user interface.

Privacy policy:

We use Google Analytics for site usage analytics. Your IP address is saved on our web server, but it's not associated with any personally identifiable information. We want you to enjoy and benefit from our site without worrying about who is tracking you (OK, so Google might track you, but that’s not us!)

Terms of service: the legal stuff

By using our site you agree to our Terms of service. TLDR: You don't need an account to use our site. Our site is free of charge and you can use it as much as you want. You need an account if you wish to list your business or control your business information. You can't do illegal or shady things with a business listing on our site. We may block your access to your page(s), if we find out you're doing something bad. Share anything you see, but don’t use our stuff for your own use without permission from us. We’re not liable for your actions and we offer no warranty. We may revise our terms at any time.