Yellowstone County MTGenWeb

Yellowstone County History

Edgar B. Camp – Billings Gazette


14 December2001c

Edgar B. Camp read an article about Montana and in 1881 sold his general store in Illinois and moved to Glendive. There he got his first job, loading buffalo hides into boxcars; and he worked in the rail yards. He proceeded to Miles City as the rail crews advanced, and was there when the first train arrived. He then moved to Coulson, and on May 12, 1882, he opened a hardware store in a tent with A. W. Miles as partner. Miles later moved to Livingston.

In January 1887, he bought the Billings Gazette and published both daily and weekly papers until he sold it to E. H. Becker in September 1888. He also sold real estate and insurance at the time, and was president of the Bank of Billings. In 1888, he was mayor of Billings, and his tenure was feuded with the Maverick Fire Department’s claims of injustice. He left for five years, and returned to enter the hardware business with the Yegen brothers. Later he homesteaded land west of Billings, and platted the town of Laurel. He and his brother Charles opened a mercantile store there. At the time, he resided at 212 N. 28th Street, in Billings (Site of the future Hart-Albin building.) His wife felt that 28th Street sounded like it was too far from the center of Billings, was responsible for getting the name changed to Broadway Avenue.

Camp built the Commercial Hotel building on Montana Avenue, where the Camp Bros. Hardware store at 2523 Montana Avenue was located. He was founder and trustee of Billings Polytechnic Institute (Rocky Mountain College), alderman, county treasurer, and school board trustee, member of the Montana Legislature, library trustee and president of the Chamber of Commerce.  He also became trustee for the Eastern Montana Commercial Clubs association.

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Katy Hestand
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