Hotel Meade

Also known as: Beaverhead County Courthouse (1875 - 1881)
Main Street, Bannack, MT

Two story brick courthouse (later hotel) built in 1875

Photos 

Hotel Meade

Photo taken by Richard Doody in 1978

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Description 

Bannack was named the County Seat of Beaverhead County in 1864. This impressive brick building was built in 1875 at a cost of $14,000 as the first Beaverhead County Courthouse. By 1881 the gold rush was history. Stock raising and agriculture were displacing mining as the main industries in Beaverhead County. Bannack was in decline. Dillon, twenty-five miles to the east, emerged as the center of commerce in the county when the Utah and Northern Railroad arrived there that year.

The citizens of Bannack fought to keep the county seat, but in February of 1881 the Territorial Legislature called for a special election to vote on moving the county seat to Dillon. After a venomous battle, Bannack lost the bid and the county seat was moved to Dillon.

The old courthouse remained empty until 1890 when Dr. John Christian Meade bought it for $1,250. Dr. Meade remodeled and turned the building into a plush hotel. It became the center of Bannack social activity and temporary home of many Montana travelers. A large kitchen, dining room and living quarters were added to the back of the hotel. The dining room was filled with tables to seat four or six and could be rearranged for larger parties. Beautiful white linens graced the tables along with fine china. Hotel Meade remained open for business for many years, abandoned at times only to reopen to meet the needs of Bannack each time mining activity in the area revived. The hotel operated off and on until the 1942 when World War II curbed all non-essential mining activity.

Update Log 

  • July 25, 2018: Added by Richard Doody

Sources 

  • Richard Doody