National Geographic Society

  • Connect:

The Lost Hotel Facts

Learn More About the History Explored in This Episode

King George digs in search of riches at the site of an opulent Victorian hotel called the Broadwater in Helena, Montana, the boom town of Montana mining country in the late 1800s. Although the hotel was demolished in the 1970s, the grounds are surely rife with treasures from the hotel's heyday.

Scene from the Diggers episode "The Lost Hotel" (View larger version)

Photograph by Cory Adcock-Camp / National Geographic Channels

  • The Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium complex was built from 1888 to 1889 by Montana railroad, real estate and banking tycoon, Colonel Charles A. Broadwater.
  • The Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium cost $500,000 to build, the equivalent of more than $12 million today.
  • Approximately 500 people attended the opening ceremony of the Hotel Broadwater on Aug 26, 1889. On opening night, guests paid $1.25 for transportation, dinner, and entertainment for the evening.
  • The Broadwater Natatorium was considered the "largest and most elegant piscine or plunge bath in the world." The pool measured 300 feet by 125 feet wide, and was fed by over a million gallons of mountain spring water every day.
  • In the late 19th century, the state of Montana emerged as one of the wealthiest states in the U.S. In 1889, the Helena Weekly Herald reported that, “the city (Helena) of 13,834 citizens boasted the wealthiest per capita population in the world.”
  • The Montana state motto is "Oro y Plata," which is Spanish for “Gold and Silver.”
  • The U.S. began producing coins in 1792 after the first mint was established in Philadephia.