Take a Stroll Through History

Take a Stroll Through History

With so much to see so close to Lewistown, it’s easy to forget that there’s another way to see the town. Walking tours offer an enchanting way to explore the historic side of town and two are provided by the Lewistown Area Chamber of Commerce.

The self-guided walking tours take place in six districts, the downtown four being: Silk Stocking, Courthouse Square, Central Business and Judith Place. There is a fifth district, which includes the sandstone buildings scattered throughout the community. A sixth district comprises 18 historic structures at the Lewistown Municipal Airport, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Each tour takes the walker on a stroll into the past.

The Silk Stocking District, so named because residents there could afford them, illustrates the success of Central Montana pioneer entrepreneurs. It consists of seven large residences that were owned and occupied by prominent people between 1905 and 1919.

The Courthouse Square and Central Business District tours are combined. Courthouse Square includes the Fergus County Courthouse, Lewistown Art Center, and Carnegie Library, now known as the Lewistown Public Library. The Central Business District focuses on the architecture of downtown Lewistown. The sandstone for these buildings was quarried south of town, cut, blasted and laid using simple hand tools.

The Judith Place District is located on the eastern side of Lewistown near Symmes Park. The majority of these homes were built from 1912 to the 1920s for middle-class families. Lewistown Municipal Airport was a B-17 bomber crew-training base during World War II. The base operated briefly as the Lewistown Satellite Airfield in 1942 and 1943. Visitors can walk or drive around the airport and visit the 18 structures that currently are on the National Register of Historic Places. Plaques are placed near the fronts of five of the structures, which were part of the bomber base. It is believed to be the largest intact World War II vintage bomber-training base in America, with the only Norden Bombsight building still standing.

In addition to these districts, there are historic sites outside the formal districts, such as the Reedsfort Post Office on Casino Creek Drive, the Culver Studio building, several buildings associated with the old St. Joseph’s Hospital, the old Fergus High School building and the Calvert Hotel.

Information, as well as tour maps, can be obtained from the Lewistown Area Chamber of Commerce : www.lewistownchamber.com