This Cache is part of the Helena, Montana GeoExpedition. GeoExpeditionMT spans the scenic Helena area from the heights of MacDonald Pass, through historic downtown gulch then south to Boulder and the Elkhorn Ghost Town. View GeoExpedition rules and DOWNLOAD a PASSPORT here.
Before Montana was a state, it was a United States Territory. The city of Helena became the territorial capital in 1875. Montana gained statehood in 1889. In 1894 Montana voters chose Helena in a controversial statewide election. The Montana Legislature voted to spend almost half a million dollars on a state capitol building and construction began in 1899. The state Capitol building was opened for use on the Fourth of July, 1902.
The story of the Capitol building really begins at the top, with the "Goddess of Liberty." It's the statue that stands on the copper dome outside. When Anaconda and Helena were fighting over which city would become the state capital, the men responsible for designing and building the Capitol building ran off with all of the plans and records.
During the construction of the Capitol, a statue arrived by railroad from a company back east. Nobody knew what it was for or who had bought it. The statue company's records were destroyed in a fire, so nobody will ever know for sure why the Goddess of Liberty was made. The Capitol builders wanted a statue for their dome so they used this one.
In the winter, you can use self-guided tours to explore the Capitol and in the summer scheduled tours are available. More info on the capitol can be found here. This cache is available year round.
One the facts I consider most interesting about the Montana State Capitol is that is was originally wired for electricity. It was built at the same time as the Capitol Building in Denver. Colorado thought electricity was a passing craze and put gas lighting into their Capitol Building. Go Montana! The Capitol Security Staff may stop and ask you about what you're doing, but they know that this cache is here so just let them know what you're up to. Happy caching!