One fortune seeker who passed through Bozeman  in 1882 claimed it was the nicest place he’d been since St. Paul. In a letter to his sister, he told of “two churches, court house, fine large brick school, and the nicest lot of small dwelling houses all painted white with green lawns and level as a floor. There are lots of brick store buildings here. That is something you don’t see the whole length of the Yellowstone River.”
Many of these attractive buildings remain: To embark on a historical downtown walking tour, with a foray into residential areas, start at the large brick building at Main and Rouse; it once housed city hall, but was first the opera house, with the original sign remaining over the front door for years afterward.
Historic business buildings along Main Street include the Baxter Hotel (eat in one of the restaurants it now houses, or simply step in and admire the lobby), the Hotel Bozeman, the Ellen Theatre, and Holy Rosary Church.
Historic homes cluster in the neighborhood between Main Street and the university , especially along Willson Avenue. The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house at Willson and College is known locally as the Storey Mansion. It was the home of the son of Nelson Storey, the first cattleman to drive cattle up from Texas to the Gallatin Valley .
Sunset Hills Cemetery, immediately south of Lindley Park, is now home to John Bozeman, Chet Huntley, and most of the people for whom Bozeman’s buildings and streets are named. The old part of the cemetery is off to the west; if you’re really interested in exploring the graves, stop at a bookstore and pick up a copy of the cemetery guide produced by MSU art students.
Find downloadable walking-tour brochures of Bozeman’s historic neighborhoods at www.bozemancvb.com .