Founded in 1864 as a supply point for Montana’s gold mining boom, Bozeman (population 35,000) is the heart of the fertile Gallatin Valley as well as the seat of Gallatin County. Bozeman incorporated in 1883 just prior to the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad the same year, which spurred a dramatic increase in population.
Montana’s attainment of statehood in 1889 and Bozeman’s effort to become the state capital in an 1892 special election stimulated both financial and structural investment in the community.
In 1893, Bozeman was awarded the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts; three years later the foundation of what is now Montana State University was laid. Growth through the early 20th century centered on agriculture and MSU, as well as tourism, thanks to Bozeman’s proximity to Yellowstone National Park.
Bozeman has 50 individual properties and nine historic districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places. One of its most popular attractions is the Museum of the Rockies, the largest natural history museum in the region. While paleontology is not its sole focus, the museum houses the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the United States and possesses the largest Tyrannosaurus skull ever discovered. The museum includes the 100-year-old Tinsley House and a Living History Farm on 11 adjacent acres.
The Gallatin County Pioneer Museum, located in a historic 1911 jail, displays guns, tools, and automobiles from past centuries as well as artifacts of Native peoples. The sheriff's room is highlighted by a hanging gallows, a visitor’s cell, an old whiskey still, and items collected from lawbreakers over the decades.
Designated a Preserve America Community in August 2008.