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America’s 10 Most Unique State Capitals

America’s 10 Most Unique State Capitals

2. Helena, Montana

Built on a medley of natural beauty and impressive architecture, Helena is the state capital of Montana and serves as an economic hub for trade activities at the state and national level.

Once Montana was incorporated as a state, many young cities contested for the title of state capital. Finally, a vote was down to the final two – Anaconda and Helena, where Helena emerged as victorious.

Like many Montana towns, Helena began as a mining town and was thriving as a literal gold mine. The town was named Crabtown, after one of the Georgian men who discovered gold in the area. Several names were bounced around, but it was given the name Saint Helena and was subsequently shortened to Helena.

Helena Montana photo
Photo by roger4336

A few facts about Helena:

  • Other names considered for Helena included Pumpkinville and Squashtown!
  • Locals convert used Christmas trees into fish homes through the annual Pines for Perch event.

Helena follows a mayoral style of government.

The Last Chance Stampede and Fair is a large community gathering with over 35,000 people in attendance.

1. Cheyenne, Wyoming

Cheyenne Wyoming photo
Photo by David Jones

And coming in first is Cheyenne, the state capital of Wyoming with its vibrant union of government, business and recreational facilities for residents. Cheyenne’s connection with the expansion of the US and its ability to remain vibrant in modern times makes it unique among capitals. Cheyenne conjures images of the Wild West days with silent cowboys and windy plains meandering through the modern city.

Cheyenne enjoys a coveted location in the center of the state and was the only city with business substance when it was incorporated as the state capital in 1869.

The name Cheyenne is a tribute to the indigenous people of the region. However, unknown to the name creators, the tribe did not call themselves Cheyennes.

A few facts about Cheyenne:

  • In the Wild West days, Cheyenne was known as the gambling capital of the world.
  • Cheyenne enjoyed the nickname “The Magic City of the Plains” because it grew quickly as the Union Pacific railroad’s supply depot.

Cheyenne follows a mayoral form of government.

Cheyenne Frontier Days is a celebration of the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, drawing professionals competing for over $1 million in cash prizes.

Have You Checked Out Your State Capital?

These unique capitals represent the character of the states that they serve and the people that dwell within them.   You may have learned about the capital of your state in elementary school, but have you thought about it since?  A trip to the capital as an adult might give you a glimpse of the personality and history of your state which, of course, trickles down to individuals like you.  Time for a visit.

Featured image by ParkerdrOwn Work, CC BY-SA 3.0


Lana Pelly Travel expert, writer for America Unraveled.


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