Helena then entered upon its eventful and prosperous career. Discovery followed discovery, and the town, unsightly with its main streets occupied by sluice boxes and gravel heaps, became the centre of a mining district that proved richer every day. In the summer of 1865 the first newspaper was printed The press was brought in over the mountains on the backs of pack-mules, and many of the earlier editions were printed on yellow wrapping paper.
In 1869 the township of Helena was entered from the general government. In a period of seven years the placer claims near Helena yielded $20,000,000, and although far removed from the outside work, the city, as a mining centre, was of great importance, and may be said to have enjoyed an uninterrupted period of success.
Helena, regarded from a local standpoint, is the geographical, commercial, monetary, political, railroad, and social centre of Montana. Its trade is larger and more extended than that of any other city or town in the Territory, and therefore its commercial supremacy is unquestioned. The Helena banks, rich in deposits and many in number, may well entitle the city to its claim as the monetary centre. The terminus of the lately completed Manitoba system, and having the Northern Pacific as an outlet to the east, west, and south, it has several branch roads to the important mining camps of of Wickes, Marysville, and Rimini, and is promised others which are to aid in developing the rich districts scattered about the surrounding country.
Helena, in the truest sense of the word, is cosmopolitan. Let one walk the streets at any hour of the day or night, and he will be sure to notice the peculiarity. Crowding the sidewalks are miners, picturesque in red shirts and top-boots; longhaired Missourians, waiting, like Micawber, for something to "turn up"; ranch-men, standing besides their heavily loaded wagons; trappers; tourists; men of business. China men and Indians, Germans and Hebrews, whites and blacks, the prosperous and the needy, the representatives of every State in the Union, Englishmen and Irishmen, all make Helena their home. No traditions, no old family influence, no past social eminence, hamper the restless spirit of the busy workers. There is a long list of daily visitors, and the city is never without itâ€™s sight-seers. Invalids seek it for it's climatic advantages.
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