Downtown Helena, Montana might seem like an unlikely place to honour Confederate soldiers who fought for an independent South; however, for nearly a century a unique monument there has done just that. Ken Robinson reports on the history of Montana’s Confederate memorial in a recent article for Great Falls Tribune:
The Confederate Memorial Fountain was erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1916. As you read the inscription, “A Longing Tribute to Our Confederate Soldiers,” realize that you are in the presence of the only Confederate monument in Montana and the Northwest and one of the few such tributes to the Confederacy in the northern United States.
…Confederate Veteran magazine covered the unveiling of this Confederate memorial:
“The 5th of September, 1916, was made memorable in the city of Helena, Mont., by the presentation of the Confederate memorial fountain as a gift from the Winnie Davis Chapter, U. D. C. (United Daughters of the Confederacy),” the magazine wrote. “It was in 1903 that this Chapter began its work for a Confederate memorial, and in this it was aided by other Chapters of the State. So on the evening of September 5, in the glow of the low Montana twilight, an interested throng gathered to witness the unveiling ceremonies.”
Several aged Confederate veterans were present. Miss Gertrude C. Young gave the presentation speech, telling the history of the gift as the Confederate Daughters saw the need to beautify Hill Park. She explained the motive in planning such a gift, telling how the Confederate Daughters, desiring to make some presentation to their new residence after leaving the South, had chosen the fountain as a fitting memorial.
…Erected at a cost of $2,000, the Confederate memorial used native Montana granite.