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HISTORY & PREHISTORY

Montana Post

Montana Post Property of the Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives. Material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code).

Montana's first newspaper, the Montana Post, was founded August 27, 1864 by J. Buchanan. It was first published in a basement on Wallace Street, which according to Henry Blake (Contributions to the Historical Society of Montana) was located in the Pony Saloon.

After only two issues, the paper was sold to D. W. Tilton & Company. Tilton arrived in 1863 and purchased a lot on the corner of Wallace and Jackson from John Castner, owner of the Idaho Hotel, which was built on October 19, 1863. Castner reserved passage through the basement of the Montana Post building to use his own basement. On this lot, Tilton built a log building known as the City Book Store. The floor, of whip-sawn boards, cost $.25 per square foot, which Tilton thought outrageous.

The City Book Store was also headquarters for other businesses in the very early days. Among them Roath & Company, Jewelers, and A. J. Oliver's Overland Express Line.

Montana Post

Professor Thomas J. Dimsdale became editor of the Post with its third issue. On August 26, 1865, when the paper was about a year old, he began serial publication of his Vigilantes of Montana, the first book printed in Montana.

The stone print shop of the Montana Post was completed January 10, 1865. Previously the paper had been published in a log building on Idaho Street across from the present Bonanza Inn. A new front ornamented the Montana Post building on September 22, 1866. Ironically, Professor Dimsdale died on the same day.

The Montana Post moved to Helena in 1868 after it was sold to Ben R. Dittes and Mr. Pinney. There it suspended publication in the spring of 1869.

Montana Post

D.W. Tilton continued to operate the City Book Store in this city for many years. In 1873 he formed a partnership with O. B. Barber, which continued until 1884 when Tilton moved his stationery business to Butte. The Tilton family still lives in the Sheridan area, where they have ranched for many years.

After Tilton moved to Butte, Miss Celia Rank took over Miss Deimling's book store (previously in the Hangman's Building) and moved it to the old City Book Store. C. W. Rank took over this store and ran a news stand there until 1889 when he purchased the present Rank Drug.

The Montanian founded in 1870 by George F. Cope, was published in the Montana Post building until 1876, when it was bought out by the Madisonian. The Alder Gulch Times was published in the stone print shop from June 9, 1899, to May 8, 1903. At that time, it became the Times and may have been printed here as late as 1915, when it merged with the Madisonian.

After 1900, the City Book Store corner became the saloon of the adjacent Virginia (Idaho or International) Hotel. The Montana Post, along with the Virginia Hotel, burned in 1937.

Reconstruction of the Montana Post was begun in 1946 by the Historic Landmark Society of Montana, with funds donated by Charles Bovey. Extensive research followed and finally the stone walls of the print shop and the frame store reconstructed exactly as they had been. Authentic printing equipment and type, most of it now over 100 years old is displayed and used in the print shop.

Special acknowledgements to: John D. Ellingsen, John N. DeHaas, Tony Dalich, and Ken Sievert Tom Cook and Ellen Baumler of the Montana Historical Society.

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