Gallatin County History
Gallatin County, named after President Madison's Seceretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, is brimming with history. It was an area that was once home to very early native peoples dating back thousands of years. Tribal bands including the Shoshone, Nez Perce, Blackfeet, Flathead, and Sioux, date back several hundred years. The area was rich with game, water, and plants used by the natives.
Europeans may have entered the valley in the late 1700s as they searched and trapped for beaver pelts to send back East for hats and coats. The Lewis and Clark party left the first written description of the valley in both 1805 and 1806 during their epic journey. When gold was discovered 60 and 80 miles to the west, the rush was on over the new Bozeman Trail, established by John Bozeman, a Georgian also looking for gold. Many who followed this trail for gold returned to the valley to take up farming and business. So began the town of Bozeman in 1864.
The town grew slowly, reaching a population of 3,500 by 1900. The Northern Pacific Railroad had completed its line through the town in 1883, and Montana Agricultural College held its first classes in 1893.