VIRGINIA CITY, Mont. — Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen attended the Stonewall Hall Phase 1 kickoff celebration on Thursday. Secretary Jacobsen joined Gov. Greg Gianforte and others at the celebration event, which included a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. The event was hosted by the Montana Heritage Commission and Montana History Foundation.
Stonewall Hall, Montana’s original territorial capitol building, had its ownership transferred to the state following unanimous support from Secretary Jacobsen and the other members of the Montana Land Board. The historic building will see restoration and renovation efforts to preserve the important piece of Montana’s past.
Montana History Foundation President and CEO Charlene Porsild says more than $900,000 has been raised for the project since late March, leading to Thursday’s celebration. Phase 1 for the project includes stabilizing the building.
“What an incredible honor to be invited to commemorate this extraordinary building,” said Secretary Jacobsen. “I was happy to vote ‘yes’ as a member of the Land Board, and I’m grateful to attend this event and imagine former lawmakers gathering here with efforts to better our beautiful state. Thank you to all of those involved in making this happen.”
The second floor of Stonewall Hall served as the home to the Montana Legislature from 1865-75, according to the Montana History Foundation. The building was donated to the state by the Neal C. LaFever Trust.
Montana Heritage Commission executive director Elijah Allen says Virginia City is Montana’s No. 1 state-owned tourist destination with over 1 million tourists visiting during the shoulder season. The economic footprint is $74.6 million that contributes to 1,226 jobs for Montana.
During March’s Land Board meeting, supporters stated “the Montana Heritage Commission intends to make the building an interpretive center showcasing the history of the building and make it a convention center for social gathering events such as weddings.”
“Today was an exciting event as this project continues to move toward the goal of sharing the rich history with Montanans and tourists for years to come,” said Secretary Jacobsen. “I look forward to following the progress, and eventually celebrating the new grand opening of this monumental building.”