East Helena, once called Prickly Pear Junction, came into being as a stagecoach station. The stagecoach route between Helena and Martinsdale passed through Prickly Pear Junction. The original station was built a few years before East Helena was founded. The Prickly Pear House, stagecoach station, and hotel were located on the Northeast corner of Main and Montana Streets. It was operated as a “Way Station” to provide customers with food and lodging and as a changing place for drivers and horses on the stagecoach route during the 1870s and early 1880s. The stagecoach barn was located at what is today 408 East Main Street.
The origins of East Helena can be traced back to the mid-1860s as pioneers were heading west through the Helena Valley. East Helena’s current business district was frequently used as a camping area for freight wagons.
The townsite of East Helena was filed in the office of the Lewis and Clark County Clerk and Recorder’s office on September 29, 1888.
The City of East Helena, Montana was incorporated on August 7, 1927.
If truth be told, I rather wish we were still called Prickly Pear Junction.