Ennis, on the Madison River, was named for William Ennis, who was one of the first three men to locate in the Madison Valley. Ennis was born in County Down, Ireland, in 1828. He came to the United States when he was fourteen and to Montana in 1863. For awhile he lived in Bannack, then came to the Madison, where in 1879 he built a store. He became the first postmaster when the office opened in 1881, and for the next eight-six years Ennis postal service was in the hands of his family; his daughter, Jennie Ennis Chowning was postmaster 1898-1940. In 1873, Ennis took his family through Yellowstone National Park. These were the first white children to see the Park. William Ennis was shot on June 18, 1898 while standing in front of the Madison House in Virginia City by a neighbor who was angry because of an unfounded rumor that Mr. Ennis had maligned his character. He died of his wounds on July 4th. (from Cheney's Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company)
Ennis is surrounded by three beautiful mountain ranges: the Madison Range, the Gravelly Range, and the Tobacco Root Mountains. In addition to its majestic mountain view, Ennis also offers access to some of the finest river locations in the state by way of the picturesque Madison River. Also, just west of Ennis lie the famed western towns of Virginia City and Nevada City. Wander the boardwalks, take in a play or experience first-hand the 'West' doing a living history weekend.
Ennis is a good-time western town and is full of cowboys, anglers and outdoor recreationists. The western flavor is real and there's plenty of action along the boardwalk on weekends. Visitors will find nearly 3 million acres of publicly accessible National Forest lands surrounding Ennis. Ennis is the center for activities on the Madison River, which is renowned for its first-rate trout fishing.
The town is also the home of the Ennis National Fish Hatchery. The Fish Hatchery propagates six strains of rainbow trout that produce 23 million eggs a year for stocking throughout the United States.
The Madison Canyon Earthquake Lake Visitor Center is just south of Ennis on US Highway 287. On August 17, 1959, an earthquake slid half a mountain into a canyon, creating a giant dam and Quake Lake, an eerie reminder of nature's violence.
Gold West Country