Scope and content: Records. 1881-1918. 6.2 linear feet. Records of the Helena City Clerk consist primarily of records filed with the clerk, not records produced by the clerk. Incoming correspondence (1884-1918) is filed by year. Within each year the correspondence is separated into "communications" (complaints, information, informal requests, etc.) and "petitions" (formal requests for specific action). Topics include public works requests, complaints about nuisances, and a wide variety of other topics. Court papers (1881-1917) include affidavits, several cases in which the City of Helena was a party, and "John Doe" cases concerning stray animals. Employee records include civil service applications; payrolls for the Fire Department, Police Department, and Street Commissioner; and letters of resignation. Financial records include a financial report (1911) and inventories (1891, 1894) of equipment in city offices. Legal documents (1884-1913) consist primarily of bids and contracts for work on streets, sewers, sidewalks, and other public works. There are also opinions of the City Attorney. The largest series in this collection is Reports. Each city officer filed monthly reports on operations and finances with the city clerk. Included are reports of the Accountant (1907-1908), Auditorium Janitor (1910-1912), Board of Health (1884-1915), Building Inspector (1890-1914), City Assessor (1894), City Attorney (1888-1915), City Clerk (1888-1910), City Engineer (1887-1915), City Marshal (1888-1895), Examining and Trial Board of the Police Department (1912), Fire Marshal (1888-1914), Free Employment Agency (1912), Inspector of Milk, Food, etc. (1892-1894), Inspector of Weights and Measures (1890-1915), Library Board of Directors/Librarian (1888-1915), Light Inspector (1913), Mayor (1896-1914), Police Chief (1895-1914), Police Magistrate/Judge (1886-1912), Poundmaster (1906-1915), Street Commissioner (1887-1899), Superintendent of Garbage (1897-1899), Superintendent of Sewers/Sewer Inspector (1888-1914), Treasurer (1888-1899), and Water Department (1913). There are also reports for various city committees, including Affairs of City of Helena (1890), Auditing (1893-1898, 1910), Building Licenses (1898), Fire Department (1888, 1898, 1908), Judiciary (1886, 1898), Library (1898), Police (1898), Public Buildings (1898), Sewerage (1886, 1898), Special Committee on City Clerk's Records (1898), Street Grades (1898), Streets and Alleys (1898, 1910), Taxes and Licenses (1884, 1898), and Ways and Means (1898). There are also reports on specific topics, including the sewer system, the water system, and the removal of a police officer. Subject Files include the city water system, the sewer system, investigations of Police Judge Lincoln Working and the dismissal of four policemen (1910-1912), and street paving projects (1890-1897). Miscellany (1880s-1910s) consists primarily of specifications for public works projects.; Although Helena, Montana, was settled in 1864, it did not become a formal city until 1881. Prior to that, public functions were handled by the Lewis and Clark County government and by the Helena Board of Trade. Attempts to incorporate the city repeatedly failed in general elections. Faced with increasing needs for improved streets, fire protection, and sanitation, the electorate finally approved city incorporation on March 3, 1881. Subsequent amendments to the incorporation were passed in February 1883, January 1885, and March 1885. These were formalized as the City Charter, published in 1887. The city was headed by an elected mayor and city council. The mayor was initially authorized to appoint a city attorney, who also served as city clerk; a city marshal; one or more policemen; two nightwatchmen; a street commissioner; a city engineer/surveyor; and a fire chief. The city clerk served as the custodian of city records, recorder of city council meetings, and counter-signer of all city warrants. Because he was official city record keeper, all reports by city officials were filed with him. The City Clerk also maintained files of all correspondence directed to the city. The functions of the office stayed essentially the same until the commission form of government was adopted around 1912.
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Montana Historical Society Research Center
Letters, Diaries and Documents from the Montana Historical Society
6.2 linear ft.
Scanned at 300-550 ppi, 24bit color. Display images were generated by ContentDM.
This collection consists of records (1883-1915) filed with the City Clerk of the City of Helena, Montana. The largest segment of the records consist of monthly reports of city officials and committees. In addition there are correspondence, employee records, financial records, legal documents, specifications, subject files, etc. The strength of the collection is in documenting the development of the infastructure of Helena.