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Madison County, Montana

Madison County administrative offices are located at 103 West Wallace Sttreet, Virginia City, MT 59755. (406) 843-4270/

William O'Brien House

Photo: William O'Brien House, circa 1890-1893, located at 114 E. Poppleton, Sheridan. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Photographed by User: Jon Roanhaus own work), 2021, [cc-4.0], via Wikimedia Commons, accessed December, 2022.


Similar to many Montana counties where the economic structure was based upon agriculture and/or capital-intensive mineral exploitation, Madison County [†] experienced particular hardship and very high unemployment during the Great Depression. By 1930, many mines in the county had already closed due to rising production costs. Although a number of small scale mining operations came into production during the 1930's due to reduced labor costs and agriculture continued to employ a portion of the population, the Re-employment Office in "Virginia City was working to secure jobs for over 1,400 registered unemployed in the county in 1934. This accounted for more than half of the county's workforce. Projects financed through the Civic Works Administration and later the Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, and Public Works Administration provided needed, temporary employment for a great number of county residents. The effect of the federal assistance programs in stabilizing the local economy and materially improving the quality of peoples' lives in the county during the 1930's may be surmised, based upon the listing of the schools public buildings, roads, bridges, campgrounds, miles of fencing, dam construction, etc. completed with these dollars.

† Carry L. Preston, Manager, Madison County Fair Board, Madison County Fairgrounds, nomination document, 1984, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.