For a city of its size, Dillon has an unexpected array of architectural styles. The Beaverhead County Museum provides a free brochure, Historical Tour of Dillon, covering many of the local curiosities.
Some highlights: The Beaverhead County Courthouse, at Pacific and Bannack Streets, was built in 1889 and contains a four-faced Seth Thomas clock in its tower. The Dillon Tribune Building, at Bannack and Idaho Streets, housed Dillon’s first newspaper; the 1888 facade is made entirely of pressed metal. One of the grandest of all the old hotels in Montana is the Metlen Hotel, built in 1897 as “one of the best, if not the best, constructed edifices in the state.” A little down on its luck today, the Metlen is still an imposing monument to the era of grandiose railroad hotels.
Orr Mansion, at the south end of Idaho Street, is flanked by estates of other early entrepreneurs. William Orr was a California cattleman who brought his herd north to the Beaverhead country in 1862. Success was more or less immediate, and by 1864 Orr began to build his Italianate villa.
At the Beaverhead County Museum (15 S. Montana St., 406/683-5027), a towering Alaskan brown bear (mounted, of course) oversees the exhibits of Indian artifacts, early ranching curios, and mining memorabilia.