Established in 1863, Gallatin County is located in the southwest part of Montana. Gallatin County encompasses 2,517 square miles. To put this in perspective, Gallatin County is larger than the states of Rhode Island or Delaware. Much of the county is fertile farm fields, and over 40% is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
The Bozeman Trail was the northern spur off of the Oregon Trail. This trail began at Lankrock and ended at Virginia City, Montana. John Bozeman began to lead new settlers over this trail in 1864. It was open for three years until it was closed by the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians who wanted to stop the immigration of new settlers into the area.
In 1883 the Northern Pacific Railway finished its pathway to Bozeman through what is now known as the Bozeman Pass. This route paralleled the Bozeman Trail and is now Interstate 90.
On July 7, 1864, Daniel E. Rouse and William J. Beall drafted plans for the townsite. The name of Bozeman was chosen August 9, 1864, and named the Gallatin County seat in 1867.
Established in 1868 by Captain R. S. LaMotte and two companies of the 2nd Cavalry of Fort Shaw, Fort Ellis was named for Colonel Augustus Van Horne Ellis who was killed in the line of duty at Gettysburg. The Fort was established after the death of John Bozeman and considerable political disturbance. Local settlers felt a need for added protection in the Gallatin area.
Yellowstone National Park came about after the establishment of Fort Ellis and the quieting of political turbulence in the Gallatin area. A growing curiosity over the rumors coming out of nearby Yellowstone Valley prompted a group of leading citizens to explore the region. It was decided around a campfire to preserve this wondrous area for the enjoyment of all people. This group of men, known as the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition, brought about the establishment of Yellowstone National Park on March 2, 1872 - the first National Park.
Lewis and Clark passed through what is now known as the Gallatin Valley on their epic journey across the western United States during the early 1800s.
Montana State University was founded in 1893 as a land grant college. Originally named Montana State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, Montana State University today offers baccalaureate degrees in 50 fields with many different options, master's degrees in 39 fields, and doctoral degrees in 13 fields.