The Gallatin County Courthouse was built in 1880 at a cost of $25,000, the lots on Main Street near the corner of what is now Third Avenue, being donated to the county. A separate building was erected a few years later for the office of the clerk and recorder. This was later torn down and an addition was built to the main building. See County Organization, names of first officials.
The first opera house in the county, combined with a city hall, was completed in 1890, and was opened with a grand concert by the Queen City Band, September 19, 1890, the proceeds to provide scenery and curtains for the stage. A grand opening of the opera house was held October 13, 1890, with the Mendelssohn Quintet Company of Boston providing the entertainment. Traveling companies produced many high-class entertainments there in early days, and when the motion picture industry struck Bozeman, the opera house was used for a time as a motion picture theater, until modern theaters were built.
Part of the building is still used for city offices, for the Bozeman Fire Department and a city jail. The main opera house section is now used for storage.
The Bozeman Silver Cornet Band was a prominent organization in 1880 and for a few years later, A. B. Charpie, the leader, being a very fine musician and cornet player. So far as known, the only members of the band now living listed on the calling card for New Years Day, 1880, are Frank L. Benepe of Bozeman, and John Kopp, now a resident of Oregon.
The Queen City Band was Bozeman’s next band, first under the leadership of A. B. Charpie, later with Herb Van Horn and then with Billie Peck. It lasted a few years, taking part in the celebration when the Northern Pacific Railroad arrived in Bozeman.
The Bozeman Kid Band, later called the Bozeman Free Silver Kid Band, was organized in 1892, with five Howard boys, Harry, Lou, Ed, L. D. and Eugene Howard, the first three still living in Bozeman in 1932, Byron and Walter Story, the former still in Bozeman as is also Fred F. Willson. The other members were Rob and Perry Chisholm, Jim Young, Reno Sales and George Morganstine forming the band, with Lou Howard leader. This band functioned for several years, and it is a matter of record that the band in full uniform played a concert on Main Street, Christmas day, 1893, when the weather was pleasant and the streets dusty. This band provided music for the ceremonies when the corner stone of Montana Hall, the main building at Montana State College was laid, in October 1896.
The Bozeman Brass Band succeeded the Kid band, with the addition of some older musicians and Lou Howard still leader. This band functioned until the installation of the 163rd Regimental hand, which under the leadership of Warrant officer John Fechter, is the leading band of the city.
The Bobcat Band of Montana State College, recognized as one of the leading bands of the state, is under the direction of Lou Howard, who has been connected with bands in Bozeman for the past forty years.
Gallatin County High School has a creditable band, started by Miss Marguerite Hood and in 1932 it is under the direction of Clayton Farrington.
The Ladies’ Imperial Band, under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Thompson, was active for a few years, and took part in the parade of the Sweet Pea Carnival in 1906 and 1907.
There are numerous orchestras in the city and in the schools of Gallatin County and in some churches, as well as those providing music for dances and other entertainments.