Fort Benton, the head of navigation on the Missouri River, is known as the "Birthplace of Montana." Its history spans every era in Montana's development. Founded in 1846 as a fur-trading post, it is Montana's oldest continuous settlement. Arrival of the first steamboats and completion of the Mullan Road in 1860 heralded the steamboat era, bringing gold seekers, merchant princes, scoundrels, soldiers, North West Mounted Police, and eventually women and children to the wild frontier. Then came the railroads, open-range ranching, and homesteaders by the thousands. Today Fort Benton serves the agricultural Golden Triangle and presents its colorful history through cultural tourism.
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