Campaign for the State Capital

When delegates to the State Constitutional Convention met in 1889 they elected not to address some of the more polarizing issues, most notably divvying up the spoils of statehood such as the location of the permanent capital, state college, agricultural college, normal school, state penitentiary and mental hospital. Most of these were deferred to the state legislature to decide after statehood but the convention decided that the site for the capital would be determined by popular election. It was decided to have a primary election in the 1892 general election with the two highest vote recipients facing off in the general election of 1894. Seven cities were represented on the ballot in 1892: Anaconda, Boulder, Bozeman, Butte, Deer Lodge, Great Falls and Helena though material is known from other cities. Helena and Anaconda easily outpolled the others on the ballot. Marcus Daly desperately wanted the capital placed in his “company town” of Anaconda and William Clark utilized his resources to prevent Daly’s success. It is estimated these men spend in excess of three million dollars trying to influence the election’s outcome or roughly $50 per vote cast. Helena ultimately prevailed by 1906 votes. Daly commissioned Leys or Leyson’s Jewelers to make brass pinbacks supporting Anaconda. There are enameled varieties in a number of color combinations that are said to have been given personally to his close friends. These are some of the most sought after Montana campaign items.

A paper with the names of some places in montana.

A set of six badges with different designs.

A close up of some old coins and pins

A group of four labels that are on top of each other.

Three ribbons with the words " great falls ".

Two ribbons with a list of the names and addresses.

Two bookmarks, one of which is a twin bridges independent capital club.

A group of four ribbons with different designs.

Three ribbons with a ribbon that says helena in the capital, cascade county and anaconda.

A group of four ribbons that say anaconda for the capital.

Three red ribbons are shown on a gray surface.

Three ribbons with the name helena on them.

A group of ribbons with names on them.

A mirror and pin are shown next to each other.


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