Columbus dates back to 1875 when a man by the name of Horace Countryman opened a trading post and stage station stop along the Yellowstone Trail a few miles west of present-day Columbus. This area used to be part of the Crow Indian Reservation lands, and Countryman followed the Crow Agency from Mission Creek to Rosebud Creek. He opened his business just off the reservation. Countryman built the Log Hotel to accommodate visitors that were traveling between Miles City and Bozeman, and by 1882 this area became a major stop on the Northern Paciﬁc Railroad. The railroad named this stop Stillwater Village. In 1894, the railroad renamed the town Columbus, due to shipping mixups with Stillwater, Minnesota.
Hagar & Co. opened a sandstone quarry in the mid-1890s, which supplied building materials for a large portion of the Montana State Capitol Building in Helena. At this time there was a population of about 550, with many small businesses sprouting up. The main business was and still is agriculture and ranching. Columbus is the Stillwater County seat. Located at the conﬂuence of the Stillwater River and Yellowstone River, Columbus offers plenty of outdoor recreation with great trout ﬁshing, whitewater rafting, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, and much more.
The town of Columbus holds the state record for the most name changes. At various times it has been named Stillwater, Eagles Nest, and Sheep Dip.
Photo Gallery Red Lodge Area