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Downtown Bozeman tours shed light on good, bad, and ugly parts of history

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jun 02, 2023

BOZEMAN — The Extreme History Project in Bozeman said last week that it regularly offers a variety of tours, showcasing the good and the darker parts of Bozeman's history.

Last Friday, the nonprofit organization hosted the Hidden History of Bozeman tour.

“It surprised me how much of early Bozeman depended on the water running under Main Street from Sourdough Creek and Bozeman Creek," said Connie Mandeville, a Bozeman resident and participant of the tour.

Connie and her husband Craig Mandeville shared that their family lineage in the City of Bozeman dates back to 1896, which is part of the reason they signed up for the tour: To learn more about life in the early days.

“Just to see how much of Bozeman was built by those who really saw it as a beautiful place and really wanted it to be established as a long-term place for people to enjoy and live," Craig Mandeville added.

Julia Jacobs led the Hidden History Tour, which took participants down Main Street and featured hundred-year-old buildings.

“It's literally my happy place. It's cheesy, but it's true,” Jacobs chuckled. “I always say the Main Street [tour] is a good one to start. You get an idea of what is there, and then you can delve a little bit deeper into Fred Wilson or the Bozeman Creek. Even The Waterway has a lot of history," Jacobs explained.

The Hidden History of Bozeman tour is just one of several tours the organization offers.

”Our most popular one is called Murders, Madams, and Mediums. It runs Friday and Saturday nights at 7:00 PM and has some dark history there,” the Extreme History Project shared with MTN News.

Something a lot of residents don't know, one tour guide said, is that Bozeman once had a red light district, with some of the buildings still standing.

“Always look for history wherever you are. It's definitely there and it's worth exploring.”

For more information on tours, visit the organization's website.