Aviva Directory » Local & Global » North America » United States » States » Montana » Cities & Towns » Fort Benton

Established in 1846 and chartered in 1882, Fort Benton, Montana is one of the oldest settlements in the American West. The city is the county seat of Chouteau County. The city was founded as the last fur-trading post along the Upper Missouri River by Auguste Chouteau and Pierre Chouteau, Jr. of St. Louis. The fort became a significant center of economy, as its port attracted steamboats carrying goods, merchants, gold miners and settlers. Fort Benton was also the terminus for the 642-mile Mullan Road, build by the United States Army in 1860, and was part of the overland link between trade on the Missouri and Columbia rivers, ending in Walla Walla, Washington. It was an important route for miners heading into the interior of Idaho, and north into Canada. Riverboat travelers also stopped at Fort Benton, which was one of the most important ports on the Missouri-Mississippi river system. Union General Thomas Francis Meagher, acting governor of the Montana Territory, fell overboard from his steamboat and drowned in the river at Fort Benton in 1867. Fort Benton is situated at the intersection of US Highway 87, Route 223, and Route 80. Tunis and Carter are west of Fort Benton, Loma is to the northeast, and Geraldine is to the southeast.


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