1. Missoula's First Streetcar System
Missoula's first streetcar system, a horse-drawn car, began operation in May of 1892 and operated through August of 1897 when re-planking of the Higgins Street Bridge necessitated the removal of the tracks. The Missoulian, in its October 4, 1897 issue noted: "Now that the street car track is torn up the students (at the new University of Montana) are wondering how they will get to the university in bad weather."
It would take another ten years for Missoula to get another trolley system, when in June of 1907 U. S. Senator William A. Clark toured the Bitterroot and Blackfoot Valleys in the hopes of forming a trolley system from Great Falls to Missoula, and then south to Hamilton. His Missoula Street Railway Company was incorporated February 25, 1909 and ran faithfully until January 24, 1932.
2. Missoula's Second Streetcar System
Missoula's second experiment with mass transit, the Missoula Street Railway Company started on May 11, 1910, when the Missoulian heralded the beginning of electric car service with an announcement stating: "Get your nickel ready." The next day, the Missoulian reported that when the first car passed the university, a track meet was in progress and the stampede from the bleachers and cheers for the railway nearly broke up the track meet.
Rain or shine, until January 24, 1932, the city cars ran 18 hours per day and averaged 4,300 miles per month, with the interurban runs between Bonner and Fort Missoula running twice per day, averaging 8,800. City cars were capable of speeds of "practically 8 mph and the interurban at 16.4 mph!"
3. The Fort Missoula Bicycle Corps
Fort Missoula became the home of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps in 1897. Seeking to prove that the bicycle could replace the horse, Second Lieutenant James A. Moss commanded the unit and under his leadership, the black infantrymen were able to drill, scale fences up to nine feet high, ford streams and ride 40 miles a day. Each bicycle carried a knapsack, blanket roll and shelter half. A rifle was strapped horizontally on the left side of the cycle. Training consisted of a series of rides of increasing length, including trips to Lake McDonald in the Mission Mountains and to Yellowstone National Park. As a final display of endurance, in 1897, the Corps made a 1900-mile, 40-day trip to St. Louis, Missouri.
The Army was not impressed. The troopers were sent back to Fort Missoula by train and were soon off to fight in the Spanish-American War.
4. Fort Fizzle
General Order Number 2, June 5, 1877, sent Captain Charles C. Rawn and 44 members of the 7th Infantry to garrison a new post in Missoula. On July 23, a courier arrived from Fort Shaw sending the troops into action against the Nez Perce Indians, led by Chief Looking Glass and Chief Joseph. Rawn took 50 troopers and some 100 citizen volunteers to Lolo Canyon to stop the advance of the nearly 1000 Indians who were fleeing General Howard's army in the Idaho Territory. The Indians arrived at the log and earth breastworks of Rawn's hastily constructed fort on July 25. Rawn initiated a series of parleys, but the talks ended abruptly on July 29 when the Indians bypassed the breastworks and continued on their way
The site became known, to everyone but Captain Rawn, as Fort Fizzle.
5. The First School
In 1869 the residents of Missoula Mills organized a school board and hired 32-year old, Emma Slack, of Baltimore, Maryland, as Missoula's first schoolteacher. Her first class, a group of 16 pupils of various ages, included students from Missoula, Frenchtown, Stevensville, and "the country."
Miss Slack's first year lasted only from June to August. The makeshift classroom consisted of an assortment of mismatched books, a small painted blackboard, a table, a teacher's chair, and some benches for the students to sit on. According to Miss Slack's journal, the Flathead Indians often peered through the windows while class was in session. She wrote that this practice made her nervous until she was convinced that the Indians were friendly and that they were merely curious.
Emma Slack later wed William Dickinson and, as a married woman, immediately had to stop teaching.
6. Fort Missoula ADC Camp
In 1941 control of Fort Missoula went to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which established an internment camp for civilian Italian seamen and a few Germans. Even before American entry into World War II, whenever ships of the Axis nations entered or were stranded in American seaports, the crews were placed in protective custody. Located in an area remote from vital war industries and international borders Fort Missoula was an excellent choice for such a group.
About 1,200 Italians and an unknown number of Germans were incarcerated at the Fort until the liberation of southern Italy in 1943. Well-treated and well-fed, some were employed in the harvest of the sugar beet crops and others in the forest products industry. In appreciation of the beauty of the area, the internees called the camp, "Bella Vista."
7. Japanese-American Prisoners
Immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, panic and racism ran rampant along the West Coast. Thousands of Japanese-American citizens were deprived of their rights. Within three weeks, 600 men were sent to the Alien Detention Camp at Fort Missoula. Upon their arrival, the rather lax control enjoyed by the Italian internees was tightened. For cultural reasons, the two groups of prisoners chose not to mix and eventually they were placed in separate compounds.
Fort Missoula was not a relocation camp, but a Justice Camp and each man's case was investigated by a panel of people from their home towns, with Missoulians filling in as necessary. Most of the Japanese men were sent to join their families in the major relocation camps. They would all be released to return to their homes early in 1944.
8. The Best and Worst at Fort Missoula
Fort Missoula had its share of heroes and villains. On the Texas frontier, in 1874, Ernest Veuve earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. He later went on to serve as sergeant with the quartermaster's office at Fort Missoula from November 1877 to January 1880. He resigned from the army, married a local woman, and went into business in Missoula as a wood merchant. He is buried in the Missoula Public Cemetery.
Sergeant Guenther Gustav Rumrich, alias Thodor Koerner was a member of the U. S. Army stationed at Fort Missoula. Not only was he a drug addict, an alcoholic, an army deserter - twice, and an embezzler of mess funds from Fort Missoula; he became a spy for the Germans from May 1936 to February 1938. He was captured, tried, convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. He disappeared from the record after his release.
9. Frank Higgins
Son of Missoula founder C. P. Higgins, Frank Higgins was born on December 28, 1863 at Hell Gate. He earned a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1886 and was admitted to the bar of Montana. Recognized as the Democratic leader of western Montana, Higgins was elected to the first legislative assembly in 1889 and 1890, and was elected mayor of Missoula in 1890.
Higgins organized Troop F, Third U. S. Volunteer Cavalry at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. The troop spent the long, hot summer at Camp Thomas in Georgia, fell victim to the heat, disease and official neglect and never fought, returning to Missoula in September 1898. Higgins was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1900 and died in 1905 from malaria contracted in Georgia.
10. The Salish in Missoula
The history of Missoula begins with the people who were in the valley first, the Salish or Flathead Indians. These people were noted for their kindness to white men and a great amount of credit for the growth and development of Missoula is due to their influence. The name "Salish" is the name these Indians call themselves and means "the people." The name Flathead is what the white men called them and the origin of that name is unknown - there is no evidence that the Salish ever flattened the heads of their infants as did the Chinook tribe on the northern Pacific coast. Some historians believe the name came from the sign language the Salish used to identify themselves.
One definition of the word Missoula is from the Salish meaning "place with bull trout," referring specifically to the confluence of the Rattlesnake Creek and the Clark Fork of the Columbia River.
11. Isaac Stevens
The Oregon Territory was divided in 1853 and western Montana became part of the newly-created Washington Territory with Isaac I. Stevens as governor. His duties included serving as Superintendent of Indian Affairs and exploring and mapping the territory for a transcontinental railroad.
Governor Stevens called a meeting with the chiefs of the Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d'Oreille tribes in 1855. At Council Grove, a treaty was drawn up in which the tribes agreed to settle in either the Mission or Bitterroot Valleys after the areas were surveyed. Also, it was agreed the three tribes would become one nation, called the Flathead Nation, with Victor as head chief. In return, the tribes would transfer 25,000 acres of land to the United States government.
12. Removal of the Salish
Chief Victor died in 1870 and his son, Charlo, became leader of the Salish Indians. The next year President Grant responded to pressure from the white settlers and ordered the Salish moved to a reservation in the Jocko Valley. Chief Charlo refused, claiming the original treaty of 1855 with Victor was invalid because his father was not told about its removal clause.
Congressman James Garfield negotiated a new treaty in 1872, promising to build 60 houses, see that new land was plowed and fenced, supply the Indians with wheat and tools, and pay the tribe $55,000. Chief Charlo maintained he never signed the treaty and refused to move although Chief Arlee later moved to the reservation with 20 families. Reluctantly, in 1891 Chief Charlo and his people moved to the Jocko Valley reservation.
13. Lewis and Clark
On their return from the Pacific, Lewis and Clark came through the Missoula Valley again. Upon reaching the Bitterroot River, the party split into two groups. Clark returned the way they came and Lewis took the Blackfoot route. Meriwether Lewis led nine men through the Missoula Valley and wrote in his journal on July 4, 1806:
The first 5 miles of our route was through a part of the extensive plain in which we were encamped, we then entered the mountains with the East fork of Clark's River through a narrow confined pass on it's North side continuing up that river five miles further to the entrance of the Cokahlahishkit River which falls in on the Northeast side, is 60 yards wide, deep, and rapid. That would be the Blackfoot River where it joins the Clark Fork at Bonner.
14. John Mullan
Lieutenant John Mullan became familiar with the Montana Territory through his experience working with the Stevens Survey. He recommended building a military wagon road from Fort Benton to Walla Walla, Washington. Construction of the 624 miles of road took place between 1859 and 1863.
Mullan and his crew reached the Missoula Valley in June of 1860. The 50 miles of road through the valley crossed the Clark Fork River 11 times. Both Front Street in downtown Missoula, and the Mullan Road leading west from town are parts of the original Mullan Road.
The Mullan Road was never used for military purposes, but it was a main thoroughfare for more than 20,000 miners on their way to the gold rush sites of the 1860s.
15. St. Mary's Mission
A young Jesuit priest named Father Pierre-Jean de Smet was assigned to establish a mission among the Salish Indians. He arrived in the Bitterroot Valley in September 1841 and began construction of St. Mary's Mission, near present-day Stevensville.
The Jesuits instructed the Salish in agriculture, as well as religion. They planted and harvested Montana's first crops and later built the first grist and sawmills. The mission was quite successful until 1846, when Father de Smet began talk of converting the Salish people's bitter enemies, the Blackfeet. If their enemies received the medicine, then the Black Robes were of no further use to the Salish. When the mission continued to falter, the Jesuits sold their property to John Owen in 1850. St. Mary's Mission was reestablished in 1866.
16. Missoula Mills
Christopher P. Higgins, Frank Worden and millwright David Pattee, formed the Missoula Mills Company in November 1864. They chose a site about 4 miles east of Hell Gate, along the Clark Fork River. The sawmill's power was channeled from nearby Rattlesnake Creek. The lumber mill provided material for the 40 by 40 foot three-story, stone-supported flouring mill the men built the following year.
At the same time, Worden and Company moved its store from Hell Gate and constructed a new building on the corner of Front and Ryman. Other structures soon appeared along Front Street, as many of Hell Gate's residents moved near the mills. The fledgling community was known as Missoula Mills, later shortened to Missoula. The village of Hell Gate disappeared.
17. Worden and Company
Frank Worden and C. P. Higgins built their first store in Missoula in 1864 along the Mullan Road, now known as Front Street. The second was a stone structure on the northwest corner of Main Street and Higgins Avenue. During the late 1860s and 1870s, they received considerable competition from the Bonner and Welch firm and its successor, Eddy, Hammond and Company.
Higgins and Worden failed in 1883 in their bid to obtain a railroad contract to construct a roadbed and cut timber for ties and bridges. Instead, the contract was awarded to Eddy, Hammond and Company, which went on to become western Montana's leading merchandising firm, incorporating as the Missoula Mercantile Company in 1885 and opened branch stores throughout western Montana.
18. Missoula Mercantile
The Cracker Barrel Trading post by R. A. Eddy, E. L. Bonner and D. J. Welch was established under the name of Bonner and Welch and located on Front Street. It was succeeded in 1876 by the Eddy, Hammond & Co., when A. B. Hammond became a partner. A new store was built in 1877 by stone masons from Helena. Eddy, Hammond & Co., also erected a large barn and sheds to accommodate their freight teams.
Reorganization and incorporation in 1885 introduced the "Missoula Mercantile Company" with capital stock of $300,000. In 1890 a new building was going up next door to the old one. Plate glass windows and 140 incandescent lights were added and the Merc was painted a dark, deep red. A grocery department was added and in 1894 fruit and notions departments were included.
19. The University of Montana
Today's sprawling campus of The University of Montana at the base of Mount Sentinel began with a donation of 20 acres from the estate of C. P. Higgins and another 20 acres from the South Missoula Land Company. Dr. Oscar J. Craig, formerly of Purdue University, was appointed president in June 1895. The citizens of Missoula donated, for the University's use, the South Side High School (now the location of Willard School) and $3,500 from a special tax to ready the building for use as a university facility.
The University of Montana, then known as the Montana State University, opened with ceremonies on September 10, 1895, and 50 students enrolled the first day. The cornerstone of University Hall was set on June 8, 1898, the same day the first graduates, Mrs. Ella Robb Glenny and Miss Eloise Knowles, received their diplomas.
20. Railroads Come
The original route laid out by Isaac Stevens' survey in 1854 designated a railroad line located to the north of Missoula. Several citizens convinced the Northern Pacific Railroad to come through the city. C. P. Higgins, Washington A. McCormick, Frank Worden, and A. J. Urlin offered land to the railroad to construct the station, yards, and right-of-way; thereby insuring that Missoula would not face the fate of other towns bypassed by the railroad.
The first Northern Pacific passenger train entered Missoula from the west on July 6, 1883. The entire Northern Pacific line was completed August 7, 1883 at Gold Creek, Montana. The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad reached Missoula in 1908. The railroads brought new settlers and greater prosperity to the Missoula Valley.
21. The 1908 Flood
Large portions of Missoula were flooded in June of 1908 after over a month of almost continuous rain. The Bonner Dam held, although locals feared it would break and destroy the town. The Milltown Dam also held, although its north end was dynamited to relieve pressure. The Higgins Avenue Bridge was the last bridge to collapse in the flood. It was replaced by a temporary footbridge, that once again connected north and south Missoula. Everyone agreed that it was the worst flood in recorded history.
A new Higgins Avenue Bridge was constructed in 1909, with funding provided by a $20,000 donation from Missoula businessman, Senator William A. Clark, owner of the Missoula Street Railway Company. The new bridge had streetcar tracks and soon, rail lines were laid to South Missoula and Bonner.
22. Civilian Conservation Corps
Fort Missoula served as Region 1 headquarters for over 30 Civilian Conservation Corps camps in Montana and in Yellowstone and Glacier Parks. Fort Missoula provided medical care, clothing, equipment, transportation, and supplies for camps in Montana and the Northwest. An average of 24 camps operated per year in Montana, and more than 25,600 Montana men were enrolled, and almost 41,000 men served in the state.
Many forestry projects in western Montana accomplished: crews planted trees, provided fire protection, and improved timber stands. Extensive work was completed in Glacier National Park and within state parks, with a migratory wildlife refuge built at Medicine Lake. Throughout Montana, CCC crews built trails and roads, bridges, lookout towers, telephone lines, and tree nurseries.
23. The Spanish Influenza
Between September and December 1918, 28% of the United States population were stricken by the Spanish Influenza. The first reports of influenza in Montana occurred September 28, 1918, in the town of Whitehall. The Daily Missoulian reported on October 14, 1918, that the Spanish Influenza was gradually tightening its grip on the city of Missoula, Fort Missoula and the State University training corps camp. They further reported that the menace of the disease was increasing hourly during the day, especially at Fort Missoula
Missoula fared better than other Montana cities; only about 110 persons died as a result of the flu. Other towns were not so lucky. Almost 641 people died during the epidemic in Butte.
24. A.J. Gibson
In 1887, architect A. J. Gibson arrived in Missoula, a growing city with excellent opportunities for the young architect. Gibson used a variety of architectural styles to suit his clients' desires. For the middle class he designed a basic working man's house, adding porches and gables for space and aesthetic appeal. For his wealthy clients, he designed homes in the graceful Queen Anne and Neo-Classical styles. For his public buildings he used Romanesque, Neo-Classical, and Beaux Arts Classical traditions.
He designed the Missoula County High School, the Missoula County Courthouse, Lowell School, First Presbyterian Church, University Main Hall, Science Hall, the Greenough Mansion and many other prominent buildings and houses in Missoula. Gibson and his wife died in a car/train accident in 1927.
25. Norman Maclean
Norman Maclean was born in 1902 and moved to Missoula in 1909 when his father became minister of the First Presbyterian Church. Maclean worked on the High School's papers, played football and was vice president of the M Club his senior year. Norman, whose high school nickname was "preacher," was a star on the 1920 football team that beat Butte High in Butte, 6-0. The Bitter Root wrote of his playing, "Maclean is the hard boy who made the touchdown in Butte. He was a fast man and good at forward passing. Many of our gains came from Preacher's accurate forward pass. Missoula High School will lose a good man when Mac graduates."
Norman Maclean would remember his days in western Montana and would go on to write A River Runs Through It and Young Men and Fire.
26. Edgar S. Paxson
Edgar S. Paxson was born in Buffalo, New York in 1852. He came west in 1875 to work on a cattle ranch, as a freight wagon driver, and a guard on stagecoaches. He rented a house in Deer Lodge and began to paint some of the local scenes and Indian portraits for which he eventually became famous. After many years of gathering material and making sketches of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, in 1899 he completed the painting, which he called "Custer's Last Battle on the Big Horn in Montana, June 25, 1876."
In 1906 the family moved to Missoula, and. Paxson opened a studio on Stephens Avenue. In 1912 he was commissioned to paint the eight murals for the walls of the south entrance of the County Courthouse. Although he continued to paint almost to his last day, ill health handicapped him considerably. He died on November 9, 1919, at the age of 67.
27. David Thompson
After coming from an Indian encampment near what is now Dixon, Montana, North West Company explorer David Thompson arrived in the Missoula Valley on February 26, 1812. He proceeded to climb a "high knowle" which historians believe is Mount Jumbo. From the summit he sketched the country and traced the route Lewis and Clark followed. He named the Missoula valley "Nemissoolatakoo." This alternative version for the derivation of the word Missoula means "at the stream or water of surprise." This, in all likelihood, refers to the ambushes in Hellgate Canyon by the Blackfeet Indians.
The French speaking Canadian fur trappers called the spot "Porte d'Enfer" which means Hell's Gate. These men said that it was safer to enter the gates of Hell than to enter the canyon.
28. Fort Owen
In 1850 John Owen bought St. Mary's Mission from the Jesuits for $250. At first the fort was surrounded by a stockade of logs standing in an upright position to protect the fort from Blackfeet raids. Each night, horses were driven inside the fort for protection. One night the stockade did not stop the crafty Blackfeet, for they dug up some of the logs in the stockade and drove all the horses out. It didn't provide much security for the settlers either; in 1852, John Dobson was killed and scalped by the Blackfeet Indians within sight of the fort.
In 1856 Owen hired new arrival David Pattee to build a sawmill and a gristmill. By 1858 the fort had grown in value from $250 to $36,000. After a treaty with the Blackfeet in 1855, life at Fort Owen was relatively peaceful and Owen lived like a land baron.
29. Higgins Saves Governor Stevens
Governor Isaac Stevens was on his way to negotiate with the Indians of western Montana in 1854. While his party was crossing the swollen Bitterroot River on July 4, C. P. Higgins proved his worth to the Governor. The party crossed the river on three rafts, using poles to guide their cumbersome vessels. The last raft, carrying Higgins and the governor, was the largest and least manageable. The river carried this raft farther downstream until it reached some swift rapids where the poles were useless. Higgins took the end of a pack rope, dove into the water and swam to land. He ran along the shore until he came to a tree around which he wound the rope, thus checking the raft, which then swung into shore. Three days later, Governor Stevens met with the Flathead, Pend d'Oreille and Kootenai tribes in preparation for the Hellgate Treaty.
30. Frank Woody
One of the first men in the Missoula Valley was Frank Woody. Woody was born in 1833 in North Carolina and started making his way west at the age of 18. In 1855 he arrived in Salt Lake City and in 1856 was hired by Captain Hooper to be a bullwhacker with an outfit headed by a man named Van Etten, whose outfit consisted of two wagons, drawn by four yoke oxen bound for the Flathead Indian country to trade goods with the Indians for their horses. Woody accepted the job and was paid $15 per month. On October 15 the party reached the end of their journey when they came to a place on the Clark Fork River two miles below Missoula's present location where they found 300 Indian lodges. Woody would later find himself in Walla Walla, and would accompany C.P. Higgins and Frank Worden, as their clerk, on their move to the Missoula Valley in 1860.
31. Gold Creek
Gold had first been found in Gold Creek about 60 miles east of Missoula in 1852 by a halfbreed Indian named Benetsee, but nothing had been done in the way of mining it. In the summer of 1857, while returning to the states from California, Reece Anderson, James Stuart and his brother Granville heard the rumor that gold had been discovered at Gold Creek. Finding gold as high as 10 cents a pan, they knew the rumor was true. However, they couldn't begin mining at the time because they had no provisions. The men had spent the entire winter living on only wild meat without even the improvement of salt. Also, they lacked the proper tools and equipment to look further. Additionally, harassed by the Blackfeet Indians, they left the Gold Creek area in 1858. Their discovery of gold has been credited as the first in Montana.
32. William T. Hamilton
In 1858, William T. Hamilton and a Scottish halfbreed named McKay were hired as army scouts at Fort Walla Walla. On their way to eastern Montana to investigate a rumor that the Indians east of the Rockies were planning an uprising, they camped one night where Missoula is now. Hamilton noticed all of the Indian trails converging there and it struck him that the place would be a good spot to establish a trading post. Hamilton returned, alone, to the Missoula Valley in the fall. He built a two-room log cabin west of where the Rattlesnake Creek meets the Clark Fork River. Although his establishment never attained the status of a genuine trading post, he did sell whisky. His cabin is considered to be the first building constructed in what is now the city of Missoula. Hamilton remained in the valley until 1864 when he moved to Fort Benton.
33. Early Settlers
Some of the earliest Missoula settlers include David Pattee, who, in the spring of 1858 moved from the Bitterroot to the Missoula Valley. Here he took up farming in what is now Pattee Canyon south of Missoula. Also arriving in the Missoula Valley in 1858 were several other men. One of these was Robert Pelkey. After establishing a farm here he returned to St. Louis to get his family. Another man to come to the Valley was Captain Richard Grant. He had been an officer in the Hudson's Bay Company. Captain Grant and his family farmed a portion of land near the creek, which now bears his name.
Two French Canadian men, Baptiste Du Charme and Louis Brun built farms near what is now Frenchtown. Other Frenchmen followed and in 1864 the town of Frenchtown was established.
34. Francis L. Worden
Francis Lyman Worden was born in 1830 in Vermont and came to the West around the Cape Horn in 1852. In the Oregon Territory in 1855, he had fought Indians and later become a clerk in the Indian Department in Washington Territory. After resigning from this position, he had went to Walla Walla and opened a general store with a Mr. Isaacs.
With C. P. Higgins, he obtained a permit to trade with the Indians in Montana, and in June of 1860, they left Walla Walla with a pack train of 76 animals laden with merchandise and a safe. They also brought along the clerk from their Walla Wall store, Frank Woody. They reached the Missoula Valley in August and selected a site for their trading post about four miles west of the present city of Missoula, at the crossroads of all north-south and east-west travel in western Montana.
35. Missoula County
Early in 1860, 48 men of Lt. Mullan's crew and 29 men from the Jocko and Bitterroot valleys petitioned the Washington Territorial government to create a new county including the area that is now western Montana. The reason for the request was that Spokane County, in which they were located, was so large it was a two-day ride to the county seat at Colville. This was too far to go for the protection of a sheriff or the use of the county courthouse. The men requested their new county be called Bitterroot.
On December 14, 1860, a county named Missoula, not Bitterroot, was created by the Washington Territorial legislature. The county seat was located at Higgins' and Worden's trading post at Hellgate. The legislature appointed Higgins, Worden and T. W. Harris as the county's first commissioners.
In 1863, a stranger named Cyrus Skinner came to Hellgate with a stock of liquor and opened the old Bolte saloon. Skinner had owned a saloon in Bannack but when vigilante justice made life too uncomfortable for him and his companions, he had moved to Hellgate. Some people believe he brought with him a treasure of stolen loot, which he supposedly buried on one of the islands in the Clark Fork River.
Skinner and his friends thought they were out of the danger of vigilante justice, but on January 15, 1864, 21 vigilantes left Nevada City, and traveled through three feet of snow to Hellgate. Three of Sheriff Plummer's gang were captured - Skinner, Aleck Carter and Johnny Cooper - and taken to Higgins' and Worden's store, where their three hour trial took place. Found guilty, they were taken to Higgins' corral and hung.
37. Hellgate's Mortality Rate
Life in Hellgate was hard and it was violent. Take the case of J. P. Shockly, who in 1864, was the last person to build a house in Hellgate. He used this building as a boarding house. In the spring of 1865 Shockly committed suicide by shooting himself. His death brought the total number of deaths in Hellgate to 10. All of these were violent deaths and all occurred within a period of a little over a year. Amazingly, in the five years of Hellgate's existence the only deaths were those 10 violent deaths; no one had died of natural causes. It seems amazing that in this small town, which never had over 14 people living in it at any one time, 10 people could die violently in such a short span of time. Is it any wonder that Hellgate developed the reputation of being a bad and dangerous place to live?
38. The Whites
The first wedding in Hellgate was on March 5, 1862, when George P. White married Mrs. Josephine Meininger. The ceremony was presided over by Justice of the Peace Henry Brooks, and it was reported that "everybody got drunk and a Mr. Blake stole the wedding cake. After a short dance, the happy couple retired, the men wishing there were enough brides to go around." Remarkably tied in with the White family history is the history of western Montana in the early years. Their first son, George, was born in 1863, when Hellgate was still in Washington Territory. Their second son, William, was born in 1864, when Hellgate was in Idaho Territory. Their third son, Richard, was born in 1866, when Hellgate was in Montana Territory. Even though all three boys were born in the same house, they were all born in different territories.
39. Matt Craft
Matt Craft, who had killed a man named Crow in Hellgate, and his wife moved into a cabin on East Main Street in Missoula Mills in 1865. Carft's conduct grew steadily worse. He wore a huge revolver and was vicious when he was drunk, which was often. One afternoon in December he knocked down and kicked an old Irishman he had employed named Thomas Haggerty, or "Black Tom." That night Craft was talking to a man named Blaney in his cabin when someone fired at him through a window. The load of shot hit Craft in the head, killing him instantly. This was the first recorded death in Missoula - another violent death. Black Tom was arrested for the crime but eventually was released. The people of Missoula looked on him as a great public benefactor and thought he had done them a worthwhile service.
40. The First Doctor
The first resident physician in Missoula was Dr. John Buker, who set up practice in 1866. Appointed physician for the Flatheads, he kept his practice in Missoula. He had mixed success: One Bitterroot man had returned from the woods with a tick embedded in his skin, feeling quite ill. His sister told Dr. Buker that his skin had become spotted like a rattlesnake's. Dr. Buker diagnosed the case as "black measels" although he suspected the tick had something to do with the illness. He was powerless to help and the patient died soon after the doctor's visit.
Another man had fallen onto a circular saw, which cut through several ribs and lacerated his lungs. Dr. Buker put the ribs back into place, stopped the flow of blood, and patched up the lungs. Amazingly, the patient recovered.
41. Calamity Jane
Freight wagons were always a welcome sight to the people of Missoula. When they were in town, the freighters would sleep on the floor or counters of the trading post. Perhaps the most famous of these freighters to come through Missoula was a woman, Calamity Jane. Mrs. Emma Magee was a small girl living on a farm near Hellgate when Calamity Jane rode into her parents' yard one day in the early 1870s. The woman rode a dun colored mule and was dressed in a buckskin shirt and trousers, which were highly unusual clothing for a woman in that day. Calamity Jane frightened young Emma when she told Emma's father, with a twinkle in her eye, that she would like to trade her mule for Emma. This extraordinary woman was hauling freight to the nearby mines and it was said she could handle her jerkline as skillfully as any man.
42. Jail Break
The first indictment for murder was issued on October 4, 1867, against one Joseph Du Frank. Du Frank supposedly murdered a man named Louis Grandmaison in Stevensville and was sentenced to 10 years in jail for his crime. He was put in the Missoula jail, a 12-foot, square, log building. By tampering with the lock, Du Frank learned how to escape, but as it was winter and since he could get free meals and warm lodging in jail, he had no desire to escape. One night the jail caught fire from an overheated stovepipe. Du Frank couldn't put out the fire himself so he unlocked the door and called the sheriff. After the sheriff, the prisoner and others put out the fire, the prisoner was returned to the jail and a new and better lock was put on the door. In the spring, when the weather grew warmer, Du Frank dug his way to freedom and was never seen again!
43. Cedar Creek Gold
In 1869 gold was discovered by Louis A. Barrett and B. Lanthier in the area of Superior, then known as Cedar Creek. The strike was a rich one; over 1 million dollars in gold was eventually taken from the mines. Since Missoula was the closest town to these mines, people were constantly traveling between the two places. This commuting offered an excellent business opportunity for a stage line. Soon Gilmer and Salisbury opened a stage line between Cedar Creek and Missoula, and so did C.C. Huntley and Company. Both businesses used Concord coaches pulled by six horses. The rivalry between the two companies became so intense that very often two of the rival coaches entered and left Missoula on a dead run. Stagecoaches played an important part in transportation between Missoula and other cities in the early days of the town.
44. Rotten Row
Missoula's first slum appeared around the early 1870s and was known as Shacktown. This slum, located along the west side of Rattlesnake Creek was occupied mostly by Indians who existed on the little money they could earn trading ponies, hunting, fishing and loading freight. Some of the shanties had walls made only of cowhides. When better homes were built in the area, Shacktown was moved to Parker's island in the Clark Fork River south of West Front Street, named after John Parker who lived there in a two-room shack. By 1875, the island had become settled with honky tonks and bawdy houses and was know as "rotten row." When the bawdy women or alcoholics died, they were often buried without ceremony or markers behind the shacks. Later, the island became part of the mainland when the channel separating the two was filled in.
45. The First Bridge
Until 1869, the only way a person could cross the Clark Fork River was to ford it or use a privately owned ferry. In that year William Stevens built the first bridge across the Clark Fork River in Missoula. The bridge was located south of where St. Patrick Hospital is located, but was washed away in 1871. The following year another bridge was built where the Higgins Avenue bridge now stands. Hanging above the entrance to this bridge was a sign which read that a $25 fine would be collected for riding or driving over the bridge faster than a walk! At the side of the bridge was another sign stating there was a $100 fine for moving livestock over the bridge faster than a walk or in groups of more than 10 at a time. The county commissioner's journal in 1873 stated that half of the fine would go to the informer and half would go to the general fund.
46. The Fair
The first fair association was organized in 1875 under the name of the Western Montana Agricultural, Mechanical and Mineral Association. The first fair was held the following year about three miles south of Missoula on the Higgins ranch property. The first fairs were more like track meets instead of fairs. The attractions the people came to see were a one-mile walking race, a one-half mile ladies' bicycle race, an old men's race of 100 yards, a fat men's race, a hammer throwing contest and a shot put throwing competition. The exhibits were largely as they are today, but the most popular exhibit was the baby exhibit. One event that was always looked forward to was the competition of the Mounted Knights of Missoula. This group would compete in an event where they would ride at full speed with 10-foot lances and try to spear a three-quarter inch ring.
Shortly after Missoula's first fire department was organized in 1877 a fire broke out in the Kennedy House hotel. If it hadn't been for the fire department the whole town would have burned. Earlier that year, the establishment of a hook and ladder company had been urged because the "present condition of water pipes leaves us only ice and curses to hurl at fires."
On September 2, 1884, the fire department was faced with the overwhelming task of putting out a fire, which was started in Leber's Bowling Alley by an arsonist. Twenty-two buildings were burned at a loss of $30,000.
The first fire equipment was a hand-drawn hose reel. The first horse-drawn vehicle was a Wayne hose wagon purchased in 1889. It was named the C.P. Higgins in honor of the man who is believed to be the first fire chief.
48. Where to put the fort
As early as 1871 the citizens of Missoula pressed for construction of a fort in or near their town. Nez Perce Indians on their return from buffalo hunts would eat ranchers' cattle and at times other Indians passing through the vicinity would raid farmers' gardens.
Early in 1876 Lt. Col Wesley Merritt was sent to the area and recommended the establishment of a two-company post. Three sites were suggested by the citizens of the town: the Blackfoot bridge near Bonner, the mouth of Grant Creek, and the present site of the fort on the Bitterroot River.
Later that year Lt. Col Charles Gilbert and Lt. Charles Worden of the 7th Infantry decided on the Bitterroot location because he felt it would be excellent for defensive reasons. (Unknown to him, the fort was never fired upon by an enemy force.)
49. Waterworks Hill
Obtaining a dependable supply of clean, fresh water for the burgeoning town of Missoula was always a concern. In 1880 C. P. Higgins and Francis L. Worden organized Missoula's first water plant. They built two wooden reservoirs on top of Waterworks Hill, each one about 15 square feet. The water for the reservoirs came from the Rattlesnake Lakes by way of a series of wooden flumes. Pipes and mains were made of logs which had been bored hollow.
Several years later the Missoula Mercantile Company bought the plant and an electric plant was added. When the Mercantile bought the plant, it was the Missoula Water Company and in 1906 the name was changed to the Missoula Light and Water Company, a forerunner of what was to become part of the Montana Power Company.
50. Thomas Greenough
Thomas Greenough was born in Iowa, left home to work in railroad construction and gold mining and finally arrived in Missoula in 1882, where he began a wood-cutting business. He contracted with the Northern Pacific Railroad to supply ties for the railroad's line from the Dakotas to what is now the Idaho-Washington state line. This was so profitable that he later invested in mining and became a very wealthy man. Greenough decided to build a home befitting his success and noted architect, A. J. Gibson designed "the Mansion," along the banks of Rattlesnake Creek. In 1902 Mr. and Mrs. Greenough gave the adjacent area of land to the city of Missoula for Christmas. Greenough Park was then, and is today, one of the city's most popular picnic and recreation areas. Greenough died in Spokane in 1911.
51. The Chinese
The coming of the railroad brought minority groups to Missoula. One of the largest of these was the Chinese. As in most cities the Chinese were not allowed to reside in the nicer sections of Missoula. Most of them lived and had their businesses along West Front Street, where most of the bars and bawdy houses were located. Besides laundries, the Chinese businesses in Missoula included restaurants, food stores, and clothing stores selling only Chinese wares. Many Missoulians envied the Chinese because they were able to live so well on a small income. But there were thoughtless people who would threaten to cut off a Chinaman's pigtail, and some hoodlums even went as far as threatening to kill the Chinamen if they didn't tell them where they hid their money. The law often ignored the problems of these people, nor were they allowed to vote.
The town of Missoula was incorporated in the spring of 1883. Elections were held in April and Frank Woody was elected the first mayor. The first meeting of the new town council was held on April 16 in Woody's office with William Murphy, Frank Worden, Sam Arthur and Edmund Sherwood attending. On March 12, 1885 the city of Missoula was incorporated and the town of Missoula ceased to exist.
Not all of the early meetings of the town officials were of a business nature. It was reported that when the town Board of Equalization met on Monday, September 16, 1883, the men played poker instead of discussing business. The winners were Worden, Eddy, William Murphy and Sam Arthur. The losers were Higgins, Hank Myers, W. J. McCormick and Pat Mahony.
53. Frank Worden's Death
On February 5, 1887, Frank Worden passed away. Worden had been influential in almost every major development in Missoula. He had served in the territorial legislature in 1864, 1865, 1874 and 1880. In 1866 he married 14-year old Lucretia Miller in Frenchtown; the couple was blessed with seven children, one of whom married Joseph Dixon who later became a United States Senator and Governor of Montana. He sent for trees from his native Vermont for the yard around his house. Among these trees were maples, which people said couldn't be grown in Montana. The success of Worden's maple trees disproved their theory, and his success can be seen every day in Missoula. It is believed that Worden caught a cold while working on the city water system and that this cold ultimately caused his death.
54. The Slant Streets
At the south end of the Higgins Avenue bridge was a wagon road connecting Missoula with the Bitterroot. In the 1880s lawyers Bickford and Stephens, who had land on either side of this road, plotted a new town, to be called South Missoula, with streets running parallel and perpendicular to the wagon road. Judge Knowles, who owned land between the river and this project, started to divide his lots, but he felt it was ridiculous to lay out streets diagonal to sections lines and made his parallel and perpendicular to those lines. He also didn't want to become part of South Missoula and his request for annexation was granted. Meanwhile, the Higgins bridge needed to be replaced and C.P. Higgins sided with the Judge and the people, voting on the bond issue, sided with Higgins and Knowles and the new bridge thus connected with South Higgins instead of Stephens Avenue.
55. The Death of C.P. Higgins
October 16, 1889 marked the end of an era for Missoula: C.P. Higgins died. Higgins was a very respected man in Missoula. He and his wife, Julia Grant Higgins had seven sons and two daughters - Francis, John, George, Morris (spelled Maurice), Arthur, Helen, Hilda, Ronald, and Gerald - names familiar to everyone in the University section because of the north-south streets. Higgins was known as a firm disciplinarian - he kept a buggy whip in a convenient place and when it was needed he didn't hesitate to use it. At noon Higgins would crook his little finger in his mouth and give a shrill whistle to call the boys home for lunch. People would say they could set their clocks by that whistle because it was always at 12 o'clock on the dot. In 1889 Higgins opened the Higgins Bank in the Higgins Block off Higgins Avenue, but he died before the bank was completed.
56. Soiled Doves
The efforts of morally conscious people in Missoula went unheeded until finally in 1916 the one-story, red brick cribs that lined the far end of West Front Street and the honky-tonks were closed, but it was a long time before a respectable woman was seen walking in that part of town. Not all the "soiled doves" moved out of Missoula but their business became much more secretive.
The most remarkable and memorable madam in Missoula was Mary Gleim who, though morally corrupt, had a good side as well. She made loans to many young men who later became lawyers and bankers so they could finish their education. If any of her girls wanted an education she would see that they got it. Supposedly the reason the cribs were allowed to stay open so long was because of payoffs to the city government officials.
57. Frank Woody's Death
On Saturday, December 16, 1916, Judge Frank Woody died at the age of 83. Like C.P. Higgins and Frank Worden, Woody seemed to be involved in almost every development of Missoula. During his lifetime Woody had been a judge, attorney, store clerk, auditor, editor, postmaster, clerk-and-recorder, mayor, historian, and politician. In January 1877, he was admitted to the bar by the Supreme Court of Montana Territory; and he is credited with being the first lawyer in Montana.
In 1892 he was elected district judge on the Democratic ticket, and he held this position for eight years. In 1876 he wrote a history of the county, which is one of the few accurate accounts of early Missoula history.
On the day of Woody's funeral, all city offices were closed, and the city council set apart a page in its minute book as a memorial to the last of Missoula's founding fathers.
58. Jeannette Rankin
Jeannette Rankin was born in 1880 on a ranch in Grant Creek. After graduating from the University of Montana in 1902, she attended the New York School of Philanthropy where she became interested in women's suffrage. She was active in social work and women's suffrage in Washington, California and Montana. In 1916, Rankin ran for Congress on the Republican ticket. Unafraid to campaign anywhere; outside a saloon, down the shaft of a coal mine, to a dance hall, or an out-of-the way ranch; she easily won the election.
Her first day in Congress was April 2, 1917 and at first the doorkeepers would not let her enter the House because they thought she was a lobbyist. When finally admitted, she was warmly received by the members of Congress who stood, applauded and cheered when her name was called on the roll as the first woman in Congress.
59. Jeannette Rankin's Two Votes
Jeannette Rankin became the first woman in Congress on April 2, 1917. That evening President Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress and asked for a declaration of war against Germany. The Senate passed the issue with only six votes against. Rankin knew that her political future and the future of women's suffrage depended on her vote but when called upon to vote she stated: "I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war. I vote No." Only 50 members voted against it. She did not win reelection.
In 1940 Miss Rankin ran again and won a seat in the House. Ironically the question of whether to enter World War II became the main issue during that term. This time she was the only one to vote against entering the war. She did not win reelection and retired to a farm in Georgia.
60. Fire and Murder
On August 14, 1892 a major fire was sweeping through Missoula. Two men named Lyons and Burns had arrived a few days earlier and had spent most of their time in the saloons. On the morning of August 15, Lyons was arrested for pawning the ring of a Paul Goldenbogen. Burns then found Goldenbogen in front of the Exchange Saloon and shot him in the right side.
The wounded man reeled to the front of the sidewalk where Morris (spelled Maurice) Higgins (C.P. Higgins' son) was walking to help fight the fire. As Higgins turned at the sound of the first shot Burns fired again and hit Higgins in the forehead. Higgins died at noon that day. Burns was arrested and because of the admiration for the Higgins' family, talk of lynching was heard throughout town. However, the sheriff kept the peace and Burns was hanged, legally, on December 16.