The Montana Mainstreets guidebook series focuses on the history and architecture of Montana towns. Based on State Historic Preservation Office records, this book provides windows to the past, pointing readers to the buildings, historic sites, and parks that act as monuments to Missoula's history. Detailed maps, historic photographs, and lively prose help these guides bring Montana's history and architecture alive.
Explore the history of one of Montana's most interesting communities. Situated west of the Continental Divide, the town of Missoula was founded in 1860 as a trading post. Supplying miners with produce, flour, other trade goods, and later with lumber was Missoula's early raison d'etre. Its designation as county seat in 1866 and the arrival of the Northern Pacific in 1883 and the Milwaukee Road in 1909 cemented the community's role as a center of commerce. Its economy diversified further when it became home to the state university--now called University of Montana--in 1895 and the U.S. Forest Service's regional district headquarters for the Rocky Mountains in 1908.
With a flourishing downtown district and well-preserved historic homes, Missoula's streetscapes today reflect the town's abundant history, thanks, in part, to a successful historic preservation program that has preserved the community's rich architectural legacy. Missoula's buildings, parks, and historic sites are waiting to be discovered, on the streets of Missoula and through this fascinating guide.
Allan James Mathews served for many years as the Historic Preservation Officer for the City and County of Missoula. In 2001 he was named "Preservationist of the Decade." He currently runs a historical consulting business.
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