Madison County Courthouse

Virginia City is a living town of 150 year round residents who host the West's best preserved gold mining town from the 1860s. Visitors walk the same boardwalks that desperate Vigilantes once patrolled. Guests are transported to a time when rowdy miners mingled in saloons and restaurants with women of negotiable affection.

View over 100 historic buildings complete with artifacts and furnishings. Ride the 1910 fully refurbished steam locomotive, the stagecoach, attend a live theater show, stay the night in homey historic lodging. Shop in unique gift and specialty shops. Enjoy fine dining and old-fashioned bakery and candy shop goods.

Nevada City, just 1.5 miles away has 14 historic buildings original to the site plus a collection of more than 100 other historic buildings saved from locations all over Montana. The town provides a great backdrop for Living History weekends available through the summer months. Visit the Nevada City Music Hall with a collection of historic music machines, gaviolis and player pianos--the largest music machine collection in the world open to the public.

When Virginia City, the county seat of Madison County, was incorporated early in 1864, it was then part of the Territory of Idaho. When Montana Territory was formed a short time later Madison County became one of its eight original counties. The new Montana Territorial Legislature named Virginia City as the territorial capital in the Legislature Act of 1865, moving the seat of government from Bannack. Virginia City lost the honor of being Territorial Capital to Helena in 1875, but the town remains the Madison County seat.

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Latitude: 45.2955821 Longitude: -111.9347014 Elevation: 5935 ft

About this Establishment

On May 22, 1875, according to the Commissioners journal, the contract was awarded to construct the Madison County Courthouse. The contractor was Daniel Steele, the architect was Loren B. Olds, and the building cost $35,000. The Madison County Courthouse was completed in 1876 and has been in continuous use for more than 100 years. It is the oldest courthouse in the state still used for its original purpose.

About 1859, architect Loren B. Olds came out west traveling with three yoke of oxen and supplies to Denver, Colorado, then on to Taos Valley, New Mexico, where he engaged in the construction of a military fort. Like many others, Olds was attracted by the news of a great gold strike in Alder Gulch, Montana, and arrived in Virginia City on November 21, 1863. Mr. Olds and his family moved to Pony, Montana in 1899, where he lived out the rest of his life.

Hours Open

8-5 Monday-Friday

Time Period Represented

Late 1800's.

Visitor Fees


Seasons Open

The Madison County Courthouse is an operating courthouse. It is open 8-5 M-F.

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