Historic Map - Billings, MT - 1904

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Billings, Montana, county seat of Yellowstone County 1904. H. Wellge, sk.

The town of Billings was designated in the early 1880's in Montana’s Yellowstone Valley as an important stop along the Northern Pacific Railroad’s route, as it traversed the state. The Northern Pacific earlier ran up against numerous delays, as challenges by Native Americans hindered its progress. The planned railroad route cut right through valuable buffalo hunting grounds. This conflict led to many battles between Native Americans and government forces in the 1870's.

Billings was incorporated in 1882, and the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1883. Billings was named after Northern Pacific president Frederick H. Billings. Billings quickly earned the nickname of “Magic City”, as it seemed to have popped up out of nowhere. By the early 1900's, Billings was one of the largest trade and distribution centers in the state, due to railroad transportation. It is now Montana’s largest city.