Ennis

Huddled around tall mountains Ennis, Montana resides in Madison County. The town is in the southwestern part of the state and in 2010 has a population of 838 people. The town sits at an elevation of 4,941 feet. It is surrounded by the Tobacco Root Mountains to the northwest, the Gravelly Range to the southwest and the Madison Range to the Southwest..

Map of Ennis, Montana and surrounding towns

Before the Europeans, the Shoshone, Flathead and Bannock tribes would use the Madison Valley as a hunting ground during the spring. The area was first seen by Europeans in 1805 by Lewis and Clark. Gold was later discovered in the Alder Gulch in 1863. This sparked a gold rush into the area and two months later, a man named William Ennis homesteaded the area along the Madison River and was soon named Ennis after him.

Looking to the south on route 287 we can see Ennis Lake and the town in the distance

Interesting story, in 1886 there was a mystery creature noticed in town making livestock kills around the valley.  The beast was shot and killed, but he accidentally shot one of his canines on the other side of a bush. The local taxidermist stuffed it and the last locations noted of the mount was in Pocatello, Idaho in 2007. Avid Aircraft, a manufacturer of homebuilt aircrafts was located in Ennis but unfortunately ceased the business in 2003. A historic ranch named Thexton Ranch is located 7 miles south of Ennis. On June 14, 2003 44 year-old George Davis killed a man and injured six others outside of the Silver Dollar Saloon bar. The  man fled to Missoula, Montana where he was arrested by authorities. The town was featured in a Steven Seagal film titled The Patriot. Ennis was also featured on an episode of Haunted Highway in 2012.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.79 square miles. Of that, 0.78 square miles is land and 0.01 square miles is water. According to the 2010 census, 838 people live in the town with 416 households and 207 families living in the town. The racial makeup is 96.9% White, 0.1% African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.2% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 1.9% of the population. In 2015, it is estimated the population grew to 884 from 2010 with a 5.5% increase of town size. The median age of the town is 49.8 years and the gender makeup is 49.4% male and 50.6% female.

The economy in Ennis is a long-standing ranching area in the Madison River valley. There are large cattle and sheep races on the north and south of the town. There is a very large tourist population that comes for the fly fishing to catch the rainbow and brown trout in the area.  Ennis is also home to Willie’s Distillery which is known for its bourbon and moonshine and is a large growing micro-distillery in Montana.

Every year on the fourth of July there is an annual parade that has taken place since the 1980s.  Many people come from around the country and is considered to be one of Montana’s best small town parades for the fourth.