Charles, Missouri, Sept. 25 1840
d. Helena, Montana, May 25 1892
native Charles Broadwater built his huge Montana fortune
over the course of thirty years, beginning in 1862 as
a livestock trader in the gold rush town of Bannack,
He soon diversified
his interests into transportation, and became superintendent
of the large Diamond R Freighting Company, which dominated
shipping in the Territory of Montana before the coming
of the railroads.
the 1870s, Broadwater allied himself with railroad magnate
founder of the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba
Railway, which, in 1890, became the Great
Northern Railway. The Manitoba/Great Northern competed
in Montana with the federally-favored Northern
Pacific, and Broadwater was in the thick of it.
He was President of the Montana
Central Railroad, a spur line which ran between
Great Falls, Helena and Butte.
was also prominent in Montana politics, and was
one of the Democrat "Big Four", along with
Samuel T. Hauser, Marcus
Daly and William A. Clark. His Montana
National Bank , which opened in Helena in 1882,
was influential in state affairs. Broadwater lobbied
successfully in Washington, D.C. for the creation of
Harrison, which started construction in 1894, one
mile from his hotel and natatorium.
Among Broadwater's many
real estate acquisitions were 80 acres along Ten Mile
Creek, west of Helena. Included in these 1874-1886
purchases was the small Hot Springs Hotel complex, which
included rights to the hot mineral springs. This acreage
sat astride the only practicable railroad grade from
the Helena Valley to Rimini,
and later proved key in James J. Hill's plans to gain
exclusive Manitoba access to the lucrative Rimini-Red
Mountain mining district, some twenty miles southwest
of Helena (map).
plans began to fall apart in 1886,
when the Manitoba's financial problems necessitated
compromise with the Northern Pacific. As a result, the
Rimini line was ceded to the N. P.
Pacific Overland Express
arriving in Helena - summer, 1897
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
was to develop a parcel of his land at the mouth of Ten
Mile Canyon. The plan was to build a de luxe hotel and
hot springs resort, advertise it widely, and bring in
well-heeled clientele via rail from across the nation.
Construction began in August of 1888; the complex opened
August 26, 1889.
health began to fail
shortly after the resort opened. Weakened, he was taken
ill with influenza in the spring of 1892, and died in
his suite at the hotel on May 25. More than 5,000 people
attended his funeral, and he was laid to rest in Forestvale
Broadwater's death, his nephew, banker Thomas A. Marlow,
made an effort to operate the complex profitably, but
closed it in 1894. It remained shuttered until 1906, when
it was sold to a new owner, who likewise failed. Thus
began the resort's slow decline to eventual ruin, as none
of the subsequent owners were able to make a success of
it, despite investing a great deal of money and sweat
in the venture.
reality, the project was doomed from the start. The
area's small local customer base, the long winters, the
remoteness of Montana and changing fashions all worked
against the success of the resort. Broadwater's belief
that the railroad would be a kind of magic carpet, delivering
trainloads of wealthy health-seekers to his hotel, proved
to be a fantasy.
Yet, for a few years, his fantasy
blossomed gloriously on the banks of Ten Mile Creek.
Nothing like it will be seen again
True Carlsbad of America" advertisement
grave of Charles Broadwater,
Forestvale Cemetery, Helena Montana.
grave of Julia Chumasero Broadwater (1853-1929),
Forestvale Cemetery, Helena Montana. Julia was the daughter
William Chumasero (b. England 1818 - d.Helena 1893).
Charles and Julia had two children, Charles C. and Wilder.