Area Information      Locations      Recreation

Lewis and Clark traveled through the Broadwater County area in 1805.  The first white settlers, however, did not arrive until the late 1860s.  These
settlers came in search of gold and found it in  many areas of the county including Confederate Gulch,  the Crow Creek Valley and Montana Bar.
In 1883 Townsend was established as a railway stop.  Townsend became the "hub" of the county as businesses sprang up to service the mining communities. Townsend is the county seat and it was named after the wife of a Northern
Pacific Railroad official.
Eight years after Montana achieved statehood Broadwater County was
established (1897).  According to the
Montana Almanac the county was named after the president of the
Montana Central Railroad,
Colonel C.A. Broadwater.

Broadwater County
1970:  2,526 1980:    3,267
1990:  3,318 2000:   4,385
The largest town in the county is Townsend with a population of 1,867.

Source: Mt. Dept. of Commerce & U.S. Bureau of Census
Townsend K-12 School District #1
Facilities: One Elementary School
One middle school (7-8)
One senior high school
The number of students district wide is under 800.   At the elementary level the average is one teacher per 18 students.  Middle and senior high
average one teacher per 16 students.  In 1999 a bond was passed to construct a new high school that will be
completed in August of 2002.
Post-Secondary Education
Campuses within a 100 mile radius:
  • Carrol College in Helena
  • Helena College of Technology of  the University of Mt. in Helena
  • Montana State University in
  • Montana State University, North- ern in Great Falls
  • University of Great Falls in Great  Falls
  • University of Montana Division of  Technology in Butte
  • Western Montana College of the  University of Montana in Dillon

In 1995 the community library was completed.  It is located on the school grounds in the city of Townsend.
Photo by Mia Whitfield.

Estimated average cost of a home in town:

  • Small, two bedroom $55,000

  • Three bedroom $85,000
    Average monthly cost of a rental unit:

  • 2/3 bedroom home $400-$500

  • 2 bedroom apartment $300-$400

    Source: Broadwater County Realtors


Broadwater Health Center located in Townsend.  Photo by Mia Whitfield.

Broadwater County has a hospital located in the town of Townsend.  Broadwater Health Center provides
24-hour emergency care, ambulance
services, acute care, home health, long term care, wheelchair-accessible transportation, primary care and adult day care.  The health center is managed by a local non-profit corporation and employs 75 staff members.
The Broadwater Community Health Foundation was established in 1989 to support the mission of the health center.  The foundation assists in capital
purchases to maintain up-to-date
equipment and facilities.

Broadwater County local industry includes agriculture, mining, timber, recreation and tourism.
Agriculture is the primary industry.  Agriculture in Montana generates more than $2 billion yearly for the economy.  Total land area in the county is 762,560 acres and farms and ranches utilize 452,744 of those acres.*

* Source: 1997 statistics from the Montana Dept. of Agriculture, National Agriculture and the Mt. Dept. of Commerce.

There are no county business
licenses required in Broadwater County.  There is no sales tax in Montana.   By the year 2005 the State of Montana will phase out its business tax on class six and class eight business equipment.  Montana does have a state income tax.
Further information for industry specific taxes and state tax rates can be obtained by contacting the State of Montana Dept. of Revenue at
(406) 444-6900.
For current information on
Broadwater County tax rates please contact the county assessors office at
(406) 266-9205.


The southern part of Broadwater County intersects Interstate 90, which runs east/west.  The northern part of the county comes within 11 miles of Interstate 15, which runs north/south.  US Highway 12 and 287 also run through the county.

The county is serviced by
Montana Rail Link and Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway (BNSF).

Bus Line
The county is serviced by Rimrock Trailways with a depot in the town of Townsend.

Many trucking firms serve
Broadwater County.  Please see the
BUSINESS DIRECTORY for a list of these agencies.

Broadwater County has a small non-commercial airport capable of handling private aircraft.  The nearest commercial airports are located in Helena and Bozeman and include the airlines of Alaska, Big Sky Airways, Delta, Horizon, Northwest and United Express.

Nationally Montana is rated as the 5th lowest cost per kilowatt hour for generated electricity.*  Electricity is provided by The Montana Power Company (MPC) and Vigilante Electric Co-Op Inc.   For current residential and commercial kilowatt hour rates please contact the utility companies directly.  Underground propane lines are provided by MPC in some areas.
Local phone service is provided by Quest.  Long distance services that are available include AT&T, MCI, Sprint and Touch America.
The primary water source, wastewater disposal and refuse pick-up for the city of Townsend is operated by the local government. Areas outside the city limits contain individual wells and septic systems.

*Source: Montana Business Resource Center/Gateway Economic