Headwaters Heritage Museum
Three Forks, United States 285-4778
The Headwaters Heritage Museum of Three Forks is one of those gems a tourist sometimes finds off the well-traveled highway. The museum, located at the corner of Main and Cedar, was formerly a bank building, built in 1910. It contains thousands of artifacts depicting the area’s history.The main gallery is filled with many interesting and varied exhibits. Of special interest to history buffs is a small anvil salvaged from the ruins of the old trading post constructed at the Missouri Headwaters by the Missouri Fur Company in 1810. The anvil was used by the 32 members of Manuel Lisa’s party, among them John Colter and Andrew Henry, and abandoned with the trading post due to harassment from hostile Indians. You can also see the largest brown trout ever caught in Montana…29 1/2 pounds.
Upstairs, the former offices of doctors, dentists and attorneys now hold scenes of earlier days, such as a late 19th century kitchen, school room, and blacksmith shop. There are also millinery and beauty shops and a dental office. Three Forks was once a thriving railroad community, and the Milwaukee Railroad station agent’s office displays a great assortment of memorabilia of those bygone days. The military room is full of mementos of the men and women of Three Forks who served their country during times of war. Another excellent exhibit is 571 different types of barbed wire.
Behind the museum is a picnic area and a log cabin from Gallatin City, built in the 1860s of cottonwood logs. Recently acquired is a reproduction of a dugout canoe similar to what was used by Lewis and Clark Expedition. The canoe was used in a television documentary, ‘The Search for Lewis and Clark.’
A short drive from Three Forks is the Headwaters State Park where you can enjoy the same view Lewis & Clark did in 1805 when they first gazed upon the confluence of the three rivers; Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin, which form the Missouri River. Other nearby attractions are the Lewis and Clark Caverns, 16 miles west of Three Forks, Madison Valley Buffalo Jump, 14 miles south near Logan, and Parker Homestead, Montana’s smallest state park, eight miles west.
Take either exit off I-90 to Three Forks. The museum is located at the southwest corner of Main and Cedar ( 202 South Main Street), in the center of town. Three Forks is 30 miles west of Bozeman.
June – September May and October by appointment
Monday – Saturday: 9:00am – 5:00pm Sunday: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
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