The community of Helena was established in 1864 shortly after gold was discovered in Last Chance Gulch, today's main street area. It quickly grew as a supply center for area mining camps. Colonel Broadwater, a self-made man, announced the construction of a grand resort in honor of Helena's prominence as the Queen City of the Rockies: The Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium. The story of the Broadwater, inextricably linked to the story of the development of Helena, is captured here in vintage photography, including turn-of-the-19th-century Helena, its growth from a mining camp into a financial center, its fires, earthquakes, and magnificent rebuilding.
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From its origins as a dusty mining camp, Helena quickly grew into a bustling cosmopolitan city, eventually to become the capital of pioneer Montana. At the heart of this growth and development was the vision of Colonel Charles A. Broadwater. Featured here in over 200 vintage photographs is the history of this pioneer town, its involvement in the settlement of the West, and the towering achievement and mysterious decline of the Colonel's tribute to the Queen City of the Rockies, the Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium.