Montana’s state flag was originally designed as a flag for the 1st Montana Infantry to fly during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Since the state had no flag at the time, the infantry commander commissioned a banner to be made with the state seal on a field of dark blue. By the time the unit returned to Montana in 1899, the design had won wide favor with the public and was adopted as the state flag in 1905.
Montana is the only state in the U.S. to share a land border with three Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan).
Republican Wilbur Fisk Sanders was the first senator elected in Montana. He was famous for prosecuting the Montana Vigilantes and George Ives, and he was one of the original five organizers of the Alder Gulch Vigilance Committee. He also served as the president of the Montana Historical Society for thirty years, preserving the state’s early records.
No state has as many different species of mammals as Montana.
In 1871, the first inmate was locked up at the Montana Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge, making it the oldest prison in the state. When the facility shut down in 1979, it was converted into the Old Prison Museum complex, which houses five unique museums: the Old Montana Prison, Powell County Museum, Frontier Montana Museum, Yesterday’s Playthings, and the Montana Auto Museum.
Montana has many nicknames which predate “Big Sky Country” and “Last Best Place.” Early fur traders described the territory as the “Land of Shining Mountains.” Around 1891, Judge John Wasson Eddy dubbed it the “Bonanza State,” and a book published in 1934 maintains that “Stubtoe State” was a popular nickname (alluding to Montana’s steep mountains). The official nickname, “Treasure State” appeared on a promotional booklet for the Montana Bureau of Agriculture, Labor, and Industry in 1895, referring (of course) to the Montana’s mineral wealth