|Founded||August 9, 1864|
|Named for||John Bozeman|
|• Type||City commission/City manager|
|• Mayor||Cyndy Andrus|
|• City Manager||Jeff Mihelich|
|• City||20.91 sq mi (54.16 km2)|
|• Land||20.86 sq mi (54.04 km2)|
|• Water||0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2)|
|Elevation||4,817 ft (1,468 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||2,554.43/sq mi (986.26/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (MST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
59715, 59717-59719, 59771-59772
|GNIS feature ID||0769173|
Bozeman (// BOHZ-mən) is a city and the county seat of Gallatin County, Montana, United States. Located in southwest Montana, the 2020 census put Bozeman's population at 53,293 making it the fourth-largest city in Montana. It is the principal city of the Bozeman, Montana, Micropolitan Statistical Area, consisting of all of Gallatin County with a population of 118,960. It is the largest micropolitan statistical area in Montana, the fastest growing micropolitan statistical area in the United States in 2018, 2019 and 2020, as well as the second-largest of all Montana's statistical areas.
For many years, indigenous people of the United States, including the Shoshone, Nez Perce, Blackfeet, Flathead, Crow Nation and Sioux traveled through the area, called the "Valley of the Flowers". The Gallatin Valley in particular, in which Bozeman is located, was primarily within the territory of the Crow people.
William Clark visited the area in July 1806 as he traveled east from Three Forks along the Gallatin River. The party camped 3 miles (4.8 km) east of what is now Bozeman, at the mouth of Kelly Canyon. The journal entries from Clark's party briefly describe the future city's location.
In 1863, John Bozeman, along with a partner named John Jacob, opened the Bozeman Trail, a new northern trail off the Oregon Trail leading to the mining town of Virginia City through the Gallatin Valley and the future location of the city of Bozeman.
John Bozeman, with Daniel Rouse and William Beall, platted the town in August 1864, stating "standing right in the gate of the mountains ready to swallow up all tenderfeet that would reach the territory from the east, with their golden fleeces to be taken care of." Red Cloud's War closed the Bozeman Trail in 1868, but the town's fertile land still attracted permanent settlers.
In 1866, Nelson Story, a successful Virginia City, Montana, gold miner originally from Ohio, entered the cattle business. Story braved the hostile Bozeman Trail to successfully drive some 1,000 head of longhorn cattle into Paradise Valley just east of Bozeman. Eluding the U.S. Army, who tried to turn Story back to protect the drive from hostile Indians, Story's cattle formed one of the earliest significant herds in Montana's cattle industry. Story established a sizable ranch in the Paradise Valley and holdings in the Gallatin Valley. He later donated land to the state for the establishment of Montana State University.
Fort Ellis , el. 4,987 feet (1,520 m) was established in 1867 by Captain R. S. LaMotte and two companies of the 2nd Cavalry, after the murder of John Bozeman near the mouth of Mission Creek on Yellowstone River , and considerable political disturbance in the area led local settlers and miners to feel a need for added protection. The fort, named for Gettysburg casualty Colonel Augustus Van Horne Ellis, was decommissioned in 1886 and few remnants are left at the actual site, now occupied by the Fort Ellis Experimental Station of Montana State University. In addition to Fort Ellis, a short-lived fort, Fort Elizabeth Meagher (also simply known as Fort Meagher), was established in 1867 by volunteer militiamen. This fort was located eight miles (13 km) east of town on Rocky Creek., el. 5,249 feet (1,600 m)
In 1864, W.W. described Gallatin County as "one of the most beautiful and picturesque valleys the eye ever beheld, abounding in springs of clear water." Many tended to agree, and Bozeman quickly garnered the nickname of "The Egypt" of Montana. 
After incorporation, the first issue of the weekly Avant Courier newspaper, the precursor of today's Bozeman Chronicle, was published in Bozeman on September 13, 1871.
Bozeman's main cemetery, Sunset Hills Cemetery, was given to the city in 1872 when the English lawyer and philanthropist William Henry Blackmore purchased the land after his wife Mary Blackmore died of pneumonia in Bozeman in July 1872.
The first library in Bozeman was formed by the Young Men's Library Association in a room above a drugstore in 1872. It later moved to the mayor's office and was taken over by the city in 1890. The first Grange meeting in Montana Territory was held in Bozeman in 1873. The Northern Pacific Railway reached Bozeman from the east in 1883. By 1900, Bozeman's population had reached 3,500.
In 1892, the United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries established a fish hatchery on Bridger Creek at the entrance to Bridger Canyon. The fourth oldest fish hatchery in the United States, the facility ceased to be primarily a hatchery in 1966 and became the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Bozeman National Fish Hatchery, later a fish technology and fish health center. The Center receives approximately 5,000 visitors a year observing biologists working on diet testing, feed manufacturing technology, fish diseases, brood stock development and improvement of water quality.
Bozeman was home to early minor league baseball. In 1892, Bozeman fielded a team in the Class B level Montana State League. In 1909, the Bozeman Irrigators played as members of the Class D level Inter-Mountain League. Both leagues disbanded.
Montana State University was established in 1893 as the state's land-grant college, then named the Agricultural College of the State of Montana. By the 1920s, the institution was known as Montana State College, and in 1965 it became Montana State University.
Bozeman's first high school, the Gallatin Valley High School, was built on West Main Street in 1902. Later known as Willson School, named for notable Bozeman architect Fred Fielding Willson, son of Lester S. Willson, the building still stands today and functions as administrative offices for the Bozeman School District.
In the early 20th century, over 17,000 acres (69 km2) of the Gallatin Valley were planted in edible peas harvested for both canning and seed. By the 1920s, canneries in the Bozeman area were major producers of canned peas, and at one point Bozeman produced approximately 75% of all seed peas in the United States. The area was once known as the "Sweet Pea capital of the nation" referencing the prolific edible pea crop. To promote the area and celebrate its prosperity, local business owners began a "Sweet Pea Carnival" that included a parade and queen contest. The annual event lasted from 1906 to 1916. Promoters used the inedible but fragrant and colorful sweet pea flower as an emblem of the celebration. In 1977 the "Sweet Pea" concept was revived as an arts festival rather than a harvest celebration, growing into a three-day event that is one of the largest festivals in Montana.
The first federal building and Post Office was built in 1915. Many years later, while empty, it was a film location, along with downtown Bozeman, in A River Runs Through It (1992) by Robert Redford, starring Brad Pitt. It is now used by HRDC, a community organization.
The Bridger Bowl Ski Area operates as a 501(c)(4) organization by the Bridger Bowl Association, and is located on the northeast face of the Bridger Mountains, utilizing state and federal land. Bridger Bowl was Bozeman's first ski area and opened to the public in 1955. In 1973 news anchorman Chet Huntley created the Big Sky Ski Resort off Gallatin Canyon 40 miles (64 km) south of Bozeman. The resort has grown considerably since 1973 into a residential community and major winter tourist destination.
In 1986, the 60-acre (24 ha) site of the Idaho Pole Co. on Rouse Avenue was designated a Superfund site and placed on the National Priorities List. Idaho Pole treated wood products with creosote and pentachlorophenol on the site between 1945 and 1997.
The Museum of the Rockies was created in 1957 as the gift from Butte physician Caroline McGill and is a part of Montana State University and an affiliate institution of the Smithsonian. It is Montana's premier natural and cultural history museum and houses permanent exhibits on dinosaurs, geology and Montana history, as well as a planetarium and a living history farm. Paleontologist Jack Horner was the museum's first curator of paleontology and brought national notice to the museum for his fossil discoveries in the 1980s.
Bozeman receives a steady influx of new residents and visitors in part due to its plentiful recreational activities, such as fly fishing, hiking, whitewater kayaking, and mountain climbing. Additionally, Bozeman is a gateway community through which visitors pass on the way to Yellowstone National Park and its abundant wildlife and thermal features. The showcasing of spectacular scenery and the western way of life the area received from films set nearby, such as A River Runs Through It and The Horse Whisperer, have also served to draw people to the area.
In the past [which?] forty years, Bozeman has grown from the sixth- to the fourth-largest city in Montana. The area attracts new residents due to quality of life, scenery, and nearby recreation. In August 2010, Bozeman was selected by Outside as the best place to live in the west for skiing.
Growth in the Gallatin Valley prompted the Gallatin Airport Authority in 2009 to expand the Gallatin Field Airport with two new gates, an expanded passenger screening area, and a third baggage carousel. Gallatin Field was subsequently renamed Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. Bozeman has been one of Montana's fastest growing cities from 1990 into the new millennium. At the rate of three percent, Bozeman could surpass Great Falls as Montana's third largest city by 2025.
Bozeman is located at an elevation of 4,820 feet (1,470 m). The Bridger Mountains are to the north-northeast, the Tobacco Root Mountains to the west-southwest, the Big Belt Mountains and Horseshoe Hills to the northwest, the Hyalite Peaks of the northern Gallatin Range to the south and the Spanish Peaks of the northern Madison Range to the south-southwest. Bozeman is east of the continental divide, and Interstate 90 passes through the city. It is 84 miles (135 km) east of Butte, 125 miles (201 km) west of Billings, and 93 miles (150 km) north of Yellowstone National Park.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.15 square miles (49.60 km2), of which 19.12 square miles (49.52 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) is water.
Bozeman experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb) as it is located in a more humid microclimate setting. Bozeman and the surrounding area receive significantly higher rainfall than much of the central and eastern parts of the state, up to 24 inches (610 mm) of precipitation annually vs. the 8 to 12 inches (200 to 300 mm) common throughout much of Montana east of the Continental Divide. Combined with fertile soils, plant growth is relatively lush. This undoubtedly contributed to the early nickname "Valley of the Flowers" and the establishment of Montana State University as the state's agricultural college. Bozeman has cold, snowy winters and relatively warm summers, though due to elevation, temperature changes from day to night can be significant. The highest temperature ever recorded in Bozeman was 105 °F (40.6 °C) on July 31, 1892. The lowest recorded temperature, −45 °F (−42.8 °C), occurred on December 22, 2022.
Unlike most of the country, Bozeman has actually gotten cooler with the new 1991–2020 normals. Average highs dropped by 1.7°F (0.72°C), especially in spring and summer. It has also gotten wetter and snowier.
|Climate data for Bozeman, Montana (Montana State University), 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1892–present|
|Record high °F (°C)||65
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||51.6
|Average high °F (°C)||34.2
|Daily mean °F (°C)||24.6
|Average low °F (°C)||15.1
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||−10.3
|Record low °F (°C)||−36
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||0.86
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||12.7
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in.)||10.7||9.5||11.8||13.7||15.4||15.3||10.1||10.1||9.0||11.0||10.2||11.0||137.8|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in.)||9.2||8.4||8.4||6.7||1.5||0.2||0.0||0.0||0.2||3.0||7.1||9.4||54.1|
|Source 1: NOAA|
|Source 2: National Weather Service|
U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2010, there were 37,280 people, 15,775 households, and 6,900 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,949.8 inhabitants per square mile (752.8/km2). There were 17,464 housing units at an average density of 913.4 per square mile (352.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.6% White, 0.5% African American, 1.1% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.9% of the population.
There were 15,775 households, of which 21.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.1% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 56.3% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.80.
The median age in the city was 27.2 years. 15.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 28.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 31.4% were from 25 to 44; 16.7% were from 45 to 64; and 8.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 52.6% male and 47.4% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 27,509 people, 10,877 households, and 5,014 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,183.8 inhabitants per square mile (843.2/km2). There were 11,577 housing units at an average density of 919.0 per square mile (354.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.73% White, 0.33% African American, 1.24% Native American, 1.62% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.54% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.59% of the population.
There were 10,877 households, out of which 22.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.0% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 53.9% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 16.0% under the age of 18, 33.0% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 14.4% from 45 to 64, and 8.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 111.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 112.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,156, and the median income for a family was $41,723. Males had a median income of $28,794 versus $20,743 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,104. About 9.2% of families and 20.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.8% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of those age 65 or over.
Bozeman became an incorporated Montana city in April 1883 and adopted a city council form of government. Currently, the City of Bozeman uses a city commission/city manager form of government which the citizens adopted on January 1, 1922 with an elected Municipal Judge. The City Commission is chaired by an elected Mayor. These three entities form the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.
The Bozeman area has served as a filming site for a number of films, including The Wildest Dream, A River Runs Through It, A Plumm Summer and Amazing Grace and Chuck. Aside from being shot in Bozeman, A Plumm Summer featured two local actors, Ben Trotter and John Hosking, as well as many local extras. Films shot in the nearby Paradise Valley south of Livingston and Big Timber areas, such as The Horse Whisperer and Rancho Deluxe also headquartered out of Bozeman due to its status as the largest community in the local trade area. It was also the setting for The Ninth Nugget, a children's book by Ron Roy that is a part of the A-Z Mysteries series. The 2022 Paramount+ Western drama television series 1923 features scenes of early 1920's Bozeman (filmed in Uptown Butte).
Bozeman also features in the film Star Trek: First Contact as the launch site of the first warp ship and location of first contact.
In popular music, the members of the noise rock group Steel Pole Bath Tub are originally from Bozeman, and wrote a song titled "Bozeman" on their third album, The Miracle of Sound in Motion. The 1980s hard rock band Vixen also featured a former Bozeman resident, Janet Gardner, as lead singer.
Literary references include the Bozeman area and real-life Bozeman artists Bob and Gennie DeWeese as a key setting in Robert Pirsig's novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; the narrator was a professor teaching English composition while developing his philosophical ideas, reflecting the author's own history; Pirsig taught at Montana State. John Steinbeck passed through Bozeman via the former U.S. Route 10 as well as venturing into Yellowstone National Park, and recounted his impressions of Montana in Travels with Charley.
On March 5, 2009, the city of Bozeman made national news when an early morning explosion destroyed three buildings in the historic downtown area. Several other buildings were damaged and one person was killed. The blast occurred about 8:15 a.m. and prompted the evacuation of a two-block area. Investigators found the cause of the explosion to be a leak in a gas line that led to a business that was destroyed in the blast. The gas line was more than 70 years old. Business owners and local residents later filed major lawsuits against Northwestern Energy, the company in charge of the gas line. The suits claimed negligence for the gas leak that led to the blast. As of December 2010, most of the lawsuits against the energy company were settled.
In June of the same year, Bozeman was once again in the national news when it was reported that the city government was requesting job applicants provide their user names and passwords to social networking sites. A passage from the city's application form said, "Please list any and all current personal or business Web sites, web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube.com, MySpace, etc."
After the initial news story aired, the Bozeman City Commissioner received e-mails and phone calls expressing indignation about the practice from across the nation. Bozeman residents were astonished and alarmed by the request. The local government believed the practice had been going on as part of a background search for about three years. In response to the negative backlash from the news media and local citizens, the city rescinded the policy on June 20, 2009, just two days after the news broke.
In March 2021 an episode of The Indicator, a spin-off podcast from NPR's Planet Money, covered a property boom in Bozeman due to remote working. The show states that the median home price in Bozeman is about 75% above the national median, while the median household income of about $50,000 is 25% below the national median. It concludes, "Bottom line, if you are a Bozeman local working a job in Bozeman, buying a house is becoming financially out of reach. The math doesn't work."
Bozeman straddles east-west Interstate 90 and is approximately 85 miles (137 km) east of north–south Interstate 15 in Butte, Montana. U.S. Highway 191 runs south from Bozeman to Big Sky and West Yellowstone. Montana Highway 86 runs north alongside the Bridger Range to U.S. 89. Montana Highway 84 runs west to U.S. 287 in Norris.
Freight rail service is provided by Montana Rail Link, a privately held Class II railroad that connects Spokane, Washington, with Huntley, Montana. The city was last served by passenger rail in 1979 by the North Coast Hiawatha at Bozeman Depot.
Bozeman has operated a free public bus system called Streamline since 2006. Streamline operates four routes, covering the university, Bozeman-Deaconess Hospital, Gallatin Valley Mall, 7th Avenue and 19th Avenue shopping areas, and downtown. The system is funded by a variety of federal, state, and local sources. The Gallatin Big Sky Transportation District has operated the Skyline bus service between Bozeman and Big Sky since December 2006.
Intercity bus service to the city is provided by Jefferson Lines.
One of the three major regional airports serving southwest Montana is Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport west of Bozeman on the outskirts of Belgrade, Montana. It primarily serves travelers to Bozeman, Big Sky, West Yellowstone and Yellowstone National Park. A smaller commercial airport is located in West Yellowstone, 90 mi (140 km) south of Bozeman.
The following individuals are either notable current or former residents of Bozeman (R), were born or raised in Bozeman in their early years (B), or otherwise have a significant connection to the history of the Bozeman area (C).
Bozeman's top employers include Bozeman Health, Montana State University, Simms Fishing Products and Mystery Ranch as well as at least two dozen high-tech companies engaged in research or production of lasers and other optical equipment, over a dozen bio-tech companies, and several large software companies. Nationally known companies based in Bozeman include ILX Lightwave (an MKS/Newport company), Quantel USA, RightNow Technologies, Snowflake Inc., Schedulicity, Workiva, onX and Simms Fishing Products. Notable non-profit organizations based in Bozeman include the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) and Eagle Mount.
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On Wednesday, Atkins, of Bozeman, Montana, posthumously became the fifth U.S. service member to receive the nation's highest award for combat valor, the Medal of Honor, for actions during the Iraq War.