Welcome to the Historic Downtown Montpelier Business District on Washington Street!
Take a few minutes to enjoy a walking tour filled with interesting information about this area and its place in history. Also, spend a few minutes visiting our many downtown businesses.
Sent by Brigham Young, Mormon settlers began to arrive in the Bear Lake Valley in late September of 1863 under the direction of colonizer and Mormon Apostle Charles C. Rich. On the following spring of 1864, John Cozzens led a group of sixteen families to settle the area known as Montpelier today. First known by travelers along the Oregon Trail as "Clover Creek", the town name later changed to "Montpelier" by Brigham Young after the capitol of his native state of Vermont.
The town business districts blossomed thanks to emigrants passing through on the Oregon Trail. The Bear Lake valley became a welcome rest area along the Oregon Trail to replenish supplies with fresh produce, daily products and beef.
With the arrival of the railroad in 1892, the first significant number of non-Mormon
residents arrived and soon the settlement grew into separate communities - "Uptown (Mormon) Montpelier" and "Downtown (Gentile) Montpelier". The town became the home terminal for the Union Pacific/Oregon Short Line trains until October 1972 when the terminal was moved to Pocatello. Largely due to the arrival of the railroad, the community became the largest in the Bear Lake valley and by 1900 most of the businesses of the valley were located in Montpelier.
Montpelier continues to be the center of commerce of the valley with a population near 3,000. Agriculture continues to be an important way of life in the valley with farmers and ranchers raising grains and cattle. Tourism has fast become a strong industry in Montpelier due to the city's location to scenic Bear Lake to the south and its location on US Highway 89 half way between Salt Lake City, Utah and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the gateway to Yellowstone National Park. While this walking tour will direct you to interesting facts about the Historic Downtown Business District, the City welcomes you to see three other historic buildings found a few blocks to the west of the downtown area on Washington Street:
Montpelier City Hall
The neo-classical revival style city hall is the oldest building in the district and is distinguished by its portico with pairs of Tuscan columns. It was built of buff brick made by Utah Pressed Brick and Tile Company of Ogden.
The semi-circular LDS Tabernacle began construction in 1918 as a red brick structure employing classical motifs and round arched entries with ornate terra cotta tympanums. The tabernacles is the city's largest auditorium.
Bear Lake Middle School
This building was constructed in 1937 to serve community as the Montpelier High School under the Public Works Administration on the land opposite the tabernacle. Constructed of mountain red variegated tapestry brick, the building is distinguished by its expensive and profusely ornamented terra cotta trim.
First known by travelers along the Oregon Trail as "Clover Creek," the town name was later changed to "Montpelier" by Brigham Young after the capitol of his native state of Vermont.