Talk:Helena, Montana

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Hyacinth grew up in Helena.

Removed and added[edit]

I removed a link: ( from the external links, as it contains no relevant information about Helena.

I added Gary Cooper and Myrna Loy as notable residents and also made the meaningless text "Montana Governors" a link.


Capitol image added per Wikipedia:Requested_pictures#U.S._State_Capitals. I had to re-align the other images to get good text flow. The 1870 image was moved up the page to reflect the 'History' text that it should have been with. The Capitol photo was placed at the bottom of that section, where the text refers to "Being the state capital".

The 750x186 photo [1] is, artistically, not that good IMHO, in that it lacks a subject (it's treetops, mountains and sky!). It could be anywhere. If it highlighted the Sleeping Giant, it might be better; or if there were some other recognizable feature (a prominent local building, for example). I left it in so as not to upset Daniel, but I really feel it should be deleted or replaced. JanesDaddy 16:22, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Problem is that it doesn't look like that from belly! LOL! It's too close up and hard to see the "head", plus that peak on the left isn't visible from town at all. I suppose I could get a photo from the proper angle, but I seem to never have my camera with me when in the right place...sigh. Montanabw(talk) 03:35, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Helena, Montana-750px.JPG

To the right you can see Carroll College (Montana). I believe the building just left of center is the train station. Hyacinth 09:19, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

OK, the images are really sucking now! A dead end with THE CATHEDRAL IN THE BACKGROUND! Let's have a Cathedral in the foreground! A random house WITH THE CAPITOL IN THE BACKGROUND! I'm getting rid of it. There's already a capitol photo. We don't need to clutter this page with useless photos. The residential area isn't identified or identifiable, so I'm removing it too. --JanesDaddy 10:38, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

The photo of the dead end with the cathedral did stand to be improved. I replaced it with a photo of the cathedral from Mt. Helena.SWD 17:04, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Dead end street with cathedral. Mount Helena, a city park, in background.

This photo (left), however, did document the sentence of the article: "However, most streets follow the chaotic paths of the miners, going around claims and following the winding streambed. As a result, few city blocks match the ideal of 30 x 60, rather they have an irregular variety of shapes and size causing many major streets to end abruptly." --Alex1011 14:37, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Notable Residents[edit]

I removed David Sirota who is a totally NON-notable politcal hack with his own vanity page here. I'm not sure who added him (it was probably DS himself - that's his MO!) --JanesDaddy 21:15, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Is this a real city?[edit]

I don't really understand how a township of 25,000 could be considered a city. There are towns in New Jersey with close to 100,000 residents and they're considered townships. Does someone have clarification on the definition of "city?" Jolb

Oops, I lose. [2]. Supposedly in Montana, anything above 10,000 people is considered a first-class city. This system is ludicrous. By that definition, the entire strip of land from Boston to Washington D.C. must be a city. Jolb

The American West doesn't have the county/township/town/village political organization of the Northeast/New England & parts of the Midwest. We have cities & towns in counties--some of which are larger than Rhode Island & Delaware!! Actually, Helena & its surrounding area is now considered a "micropolis" according to the US Census Bureau. United States micropolitan area
As a DC native & former resident of 11790 now living in Montana, I would propose that the DC to Boston corridor IS quickly becoming one large population center, albeit with "edge cities" [rf. Joel Garreau's book by that name]. The urban history of the American West is a fascinating story & quite different from that of Eastern cities. Take a trip out West & see how different things are here, west of the Hudson!
Patti Pagan 15:43, 20 August 2007 (UTC)Patti Pagan

I guess it's not up to us. Hyacinth (talk) 19:58, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

"Urban Deer Culled in Montana Capital"[edit]

Someone please add this: Urban Deer Culled in Montana Capital VZakharov (talk) 16:18, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Why? Hyacinth (talk) 06:02, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Dead controversy now unless you're in PETA. (Sorry, bad pun) Montanabw(talk) 18:43, 25 June 2009 (UTC)


If someone proposes that American Indians care whether non-Indians call themselves native Helenans or Montanans please cite a source. Hyacinth (talk) 06:02, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Some do, some don't. You'll find a bit of message board discussion and blogging on the issue, probably the occasional news article here and there, but it's mostly a minor but ongoing gripe within some groups of Indian people and not all of them. Not something real easy to source, because it's more a social thing out here that doesn't rise up to the level of being a big political issue. But out here where there is a significant Indian population, some folks in the Indian community DO care deeply, and not just the AIM activist crowd. It is probably one of those things where the battle is uphill, and frankly not one probably winnable given how widespread the terminology is, but I've had people I know and respect jump on my a-- for saying I'm a "native" Montanan because I don't have a drop of Indian ancestry. (I have also had my wrist slapped for saying "let's not circle the wagons.") All of which is, I admit, original research and thus not sourcable for wiki, but I guess I feel that if something is offensive to a significant number of people, and if it doesn't get in my way, why not change it? It isn't a matter of 'political correctness,' it's a matter of respect ... sort of like getting the name "Squaw" off everything. You don't want me to call myself a native unless I'm Indian, fine, no big whoop. Call me a "lifelong Montanan" or whatever. I'm a big kid...
But I have no energy to really fight about it, either. Just seemed something that could quietly just go away. Oh well. Based on the editing patterns of the various Native American articles, there doesn't appear to be a large reservation-based population of wiki editors we can ask, and that seems to be where the strongest feeling is.
There is also the secondary issue of, if white people CAN use the term, then when can a person call themselves "native" and if it means that they had to be born in a place, or if they could move there as an infant and stay there the rest of their lives and still "count." What if your mom went into labor while on vacation in the Bahamas? Or when your family was posted overseas with the Military? The issue of who can be a "native" Montanan is just very touchy here -- many people have moved to the state in the last 20 years and resent the living daylights out of us so-called "native" white people who were simply the beneficiaries of grandparents smart enough to get here first. I've also heard transplants rant about how "those 'native' Montanans think we're second-class citizens!" I say something like, "um, I'm a 'native' Montanan," and get amusing responses (my favorite being, "oh, well, you're not like the rest of Those People ...").  ;-)
Similarly, the list of famous residents, native or otherwise, can be a little silly anyway, I mean, when does someone go from "visitor" to "resident?" When can someone stop saying they are an "outastater," and start saying "i'm a Montanan?" (The rough consensus seems to be at about 20 years...) Even the Montana code has about three different definitions of "resident" depending on whether you are paying state taxes (heck, yeah you are a resident) or in-state tuition (oh no, not if you go home in the summer!) ... :-P Politicians often state in their advertising that they are a "Montanan by choice" so as to avoid the "outastater" label. So, overall, this is just one of those words that raises hackles and seems best to just try to quietly find a better phrase, IMHO. However, I also don't really have the time or the energy to make any more of big deal out of it than I just have, so if people want to persist, not a fight I'm going to fight. Montanabw(talk) 21:08, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Nyttend's edit summary: "I don't care what they [Indians] think," is clearly racist. You, however, appear not to be familiar with Wikipedia. Please see Wikipedia:Citing sources and Wikipedia:Verifiability. Hyacinth (talk) 01:17, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps you aren't familiar with no personal attacks? Nyttend (talk) 02:36, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand the relevance. Hyacinth (talk) 03:04, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Montanabw — "native" is as in "grew up there". Hyacinth's quotation of Merriam-Webster Online, is useful, with a native of a place being someone who is (1) born or (2) raised in that place. Let's create a hypothetical situation — if guidelines for Canadian city articles include a section on "first citizens", being a sourced list of the leading people in the city, would you oppose this section name if a group of First Nations people opposed the use of "first" except in reference to themselves? Or if an article about a place in Jamaica had a section about white-colored objects that (per WP guidelines) was supposed to be called "White [Somethings]", and British-descended residents objected because they alone were white, would you support a name change for this section? It's a section for people who are born-and/or-raised in the city, and for those who live there currently (whether or not they were born there), and "native" is a standard word for someone born-and/or-raised in a place, regardless of what one group or another may think and say. Nyttend (talk) 03:08, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Again, this is an editor's opinion and not yet verifiable or cited. Hyacinth (talk) 05:09, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Slightly confused, are you saying that both of us are expressing what is "an editor's opinion..."? My position is based on WP:USCITY, which calls for the header to be "Notable natives and residents". Nyttend (talk) 06:08, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Now I'm confused, since you didn't say that. However, I don't find that WP:USCITY calls for the header of a section listing residents to be titled "Notable natives and residents". Rather, it describes how a section with such a titled header should be organized. Hyacinth (talk) 06:25, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I've been on Wiki for three years, I know what sourcing is all about. Thus, like I say, this isn't worth my energy because it's a no-win. I know that the terms of WP:V means I can't win because I doubt anyone has published something in a peer-reviewed publication that says, "please, white people, quit calling yourselves "natives." And no one has taken a poll of Indian people asking, ""do you care if white people call themselves 'natives'?" So I just ranted a bit to perhaps add some enlightenment. It's someone else's fight. Montanabw(talk) 18:45, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
You certainly can't prove a negative. Hyacinth (talk) 19:41, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Dang it, too!  :-P Montanabw(talk) 01:42, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Change to prose[edit]

It looks like this list is long enough that it should be changed to prose per WP:USCITY#Notable natives and residents, as that cuts down on vandalism and improves the article quality per good and featured article criteria. Hyacinth (talk) 06:25, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't like this idea — not because it's bad, but because I'm just not fond of prose lists of this format. It's definitely long; why don't we just split it off into a List of people from Helena, Montana? Nyttend (talk) 13:52, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't really have an opinion on having a list of famous locals in the article or split off to a list, and for formatting stuff, I figure that whatever the Wiki MOS says this week is the way to go until consensus changes on it next week (so what IS the current consensus on the use of the serial comma, anyway?? :-P ) I tend to dislike laundry lists in general, but I see that a lot of article on geographic locations have them. So my only horse in this race consists of commentary on if someone has a tie to this town or not. I'll also leave the notability discussions to the notability policy. Montanabw(talk) 18:41, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Additional citations[edit]

Why and where does this article need additional citations? Hyacinth (talk) 06:02, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Origin of the City's Name[edit]

Yes, it is a city; I have to chuckle at some of the Eastern comments above. However, the city was not named after St. Helena, MN. There is no St. Helena, MN, and looking at old maps, there never was one. The city in MT was named after Helena, MN

This is how I learned it as a kid, this is what the Montana Historical Society has verified and this is what Montana History dot Net claims. The Montana fishing website that 'you' are using as a citation is getting this incorrect information from the tourism site. It's a common misunderstanding that there must have been some kind of St. Helena somewhere, because the city later has/had links to Saint Helena --as in the name of the diocese/cathedral. However, the gold camp was named after Helena, Minnesota, plain and simple. No saints. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:27, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Well, is also a commercial site, not an official government site. The tourism site actually IS an Official Government Site. (Note linking from ) Doesn't mean it can't be wrong, but it's at least official. The City has not provided a history page on their web site, and the Montana Historical Society also has not deigned to put this material up on the web. But I can go and check some hardcopy sources locally and see what's what (computer is at work, the books are home or over at the library, will be a few days). I'll grant the possibility they are talking about what today is the Helena, MN township, but until I can find something one way or the other, what's on the government site probably needs to stay here for the interim. If it's a barrier, we can toss the fishing site. Montanabw(talk) 17:25, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Good point, but your logic is backwards actually, if you think about it. The state tourism site is linked to the government by name, but in practice IT is a commercial site --it's marketing something: Montana. Virtually all tourism brochures and sites will 'talk up' a place, and often include half-true information. The saint business concerning the naming of the capital city (where I grew up and where my parents worked for the federal and state government for decades) is folk history, plain and simple. In contrast, the montana history dot net site is devoted to history; the manager of the site is not making a profit and has no reason to stretch the truth or use folk history. In fact, the author(s) of the site even cite historical materials in some places, which the tourism site does not do. I contacted a Zoe Ann Stoltz at the Montana Historical Society. She warned me to beware of information on line--even at 'official' websites of which you speak. I also contacted the Minnesota Historical Society. I was told to check out their place name 'function' of the site. It's a search engine and will bring up the names (and their histories) of places, past and present. There are only TWO Helena anythings in MN, past or present. One was a lake by Wadena, I believe it was, and the other is Helena, Minnesota, in Scott County, south of Minneapolis and Shakopee. I was assured that the database is complete. If something is not there, past or present, it did not exist. There is no St. Helena, MN and never was. Period. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:44, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

It took me a bit to actually go dig out the books, had you a bit more patience and less arrogance, and now I have your answer and will tweak the site accordingly. The book I have here still may not have the full scoop (Though the correct answer is probably "all of the above.") But as far as WP:V goes, your favorite site is commercial, the guy is a consultant, not a historian. I have never said the tourism site is necessarily correct, (even the local tour guides stretch the local legends a bit) just that it has an official stamp that the other lacks. And gee, I'm only a fourth-generation Montanan, which includes 20 years in Helena and one set of grandparents who lived most of their life in Clancy, so I'll meet your bet and raise ya one. If you aren't happy with the changes, then give me a couple of weeks to have a minute to run to the library. Montanabw(talk) 07:29, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

Introductory paragraph[edit]

I am just wondering does the introductory paragraph of this page really seem like the right place for the sports teams to be listed. This is the capital city of the fourth largest state in the union and a couple of minor league teams are the most important things about the city? I find that hard to believe! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sara goth (talkcontribs) 18:15, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

The whole article is pretty weak, the lead should reflect the content of the overall article, I don' mind if you want to fix that and put the sports stuff into its own section elsewhere. Go for it! Montanabw(talk) 22:25, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

I find Helena to be a wonderful fun town but personally I don’t have enough interest in Helena to want to take on the task of fixing and enhancing this page. Out of 70 some thousand people there must be someone with enough civic pride to want to fix the Helena page. Come on, there must be a government worker with some time to kill on the computer.Sara goth (talk) 21:15, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

That's pretty rude, Sara. State government workers are constantly asked to do more and more with less and less, then put up with accusations of not working. And no, I don't work for the state any more; I make more money and get to spend more time on WP in the private sector. Montanabw(talk) 00:24, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Helena, Montana[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Helena, Montana's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "NOAA":

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 20:29, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

I think that the reference errors that this bot was trying to refer to on this page have been fixed now. Guy1890 (talk) 02:24, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
That IS weird, do we have a rogue bot at work??? Montanabw(talk) 01:11, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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No mention of Fort Harrison[edit]

I'm wondering why there is no mention of Fort William Henry Harrison on this page, not even in the economy section. Fort Harrison and the VA hospital are both prominent figures in the community. I would like to add a mention of this somewhere, with a link to the Fort Harrison article, but I'm open to suggestion as to where to place it. Any suggestions before I proceed?Pistongrinder (talk) 23:23, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

I think Fort Harrison is technically outside the city limits, but even the Lewis and Clark County, Montana page only has the most peripheral of mentions. I suggest adding it to both articles, in this one, a brief paragraph in the "Economy" section would probably work, and in the L&C Co one, the whole article is so scant it sucks, so it's your call there! I've got both watchlisted, so will trot by and peek at your edits, but I agree with your views that these should be mentioned. Montanabw(talk) 04:07, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh, and from the Fort Harrison article, I see that the cemetery is a redlink, you could even create that as a separate article. Montanabw(talk) 04:08, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for your input. I just added a paragraph to the "Economy" section. See what you think. As for the L&C County article: Yikes! I agree it could use a lot of work, but I think it's more than I can handle right now. Baby steps, I guess.Pistongrinder (talk) 17:31, 1 March 2016 (UTC)