|City of Missoula, Montana|
|Nickname(s): The Garden City|
|Motto: "The Discovery Continues"|
Location of Missoula in Missoula County and Montana
Location of Montana
|Incorporated (town)||March 8, 1883|
|Incorporated (city)||March 12, 1885|
|• Mayor-council government||John Engen (D)|
|• City||27.67 sq mi (71.66 km2)|
|• Land||27.51 sq mi (71.25 km2)|
|• Water||0.16 sq mi (0.41 km2)|
|• Urban||36.4 sq mi (94.2 km2)|
|Elevation||3,209 ft (978 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||68,394|
|• Density||106.7/sq mi (171.7/km2)|
|Time zone||Mountain (UTC-7)|
|• Summer (DST)||Mountain (UTC-6)|
|ZIP code||59801-59804, 59806-59808|
|University of Montana ZIP code||59812|
|GNIS feature ID||0787504|
Missoula i// is a city in the U.S. state of Montana and is the county seat of Missoula County. It is located along the Clark Fork River near its confluence with the Bitterroot River in western Montana and at the convergence of five mountain ranges, thus is often described as the "Hub of Five Valleys". The United States Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 68,394 and the population of the Missoula Metropolitan Area at 111,807 Since 2000, Missoula has been the second most populous city in Montana. Missoula is home to the University of Montana, a public research university.
Missoula was founded in 1860 as Hellgate Trading Post while still part of Washington Territory. By 1866, the settlement had moved five miles upstream and renamed Missoula Mills, later shortened to Missoula. The mills provided supplies to western settlers traveling along the Mullan Road. The establishment of Fort Missoula in 1877 to protect settlers further stabilized the economy. The arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1883 brought rapid growth and the maturation of the local lumber industry. An element of prestige could be claimed ten years later when what was already called the City of Missoula was chosen by the Montana Legislature as the site for the new state's first university. Along with the U.S. Forest Service headquarters founded in 1908, lumber and the university would remain staples of the local economy for the next hundred years.
By the 1990s, Missoula's lumber industry had gradually disappeared, and today the city's largest employers are the University of Montana and Missoula's two hospitals. The city is governed by a mayor-council government with twelve city council members, two from each of the six wards. In and around Missoula are 400 acres (160 ha) of parkland, 22 miles (35 km) of trails, and nearly 5,000 acres (2,000 ha) of open-space conservation land with adjacent Mount Jumbo home to grazing elk and mule deer during the winter months. The city is also home to both Montana's largest and its oldest active breweries as well as the Montana Grizzlies, one of the strongest college football programs in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Notable residents include the first woman in the U.S. Congress, Jeannette Rankin, and the United States' longest-serving Senate Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Culture
- 6 Sports
- 7 Parks and Recreation
- 8 Government and politics
- 9 Education
- 10 Media
- 11 Infrastructure
- 12 Notable people
- 13 Sister cities
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Archaeological artifacts date the Missoula Valley's earliest inhabitants to the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago with settlements as early as 3,500 BCE. From the 1700s until European settlements began a hundred years later, the land was primarily used by populations of the Salish, Kootenai, Pend d'Oreille, Blackfeet, and Shoshone tribes. Located at the confluence of five mountain valleys, the Missoula Valley was heavily traversed by local and distant native tribes that periodically went to the Eastern Montana plains in search of bison, leading to inevitable conflict. The narrow valley at Missoula's eastern entrance was so strewn with human bones from repeated ambushes that French fur trappers would later refer to this area as "Porte d' Enfer," translated as "Hell's Gate". Hell Gate would remain the name of the area until it was renamed "Missoula" in 1866.
Western exploration to the area began with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which stopped twice just south of Missoula at Traveler's Rest (first from September 9–11, 1805, and again from June 30-July 3, 1806) before splitting up on the return journey, with Clark taking the southern route along the Bitterroot River and Lewis travelling north through Hellgate Canyon on July 4. In 1860 Hell Gate Village was established just west of present-day Missoula by Christopher P. Higgins and Frank Worden as a trading post to serve travelers on the recently completed Mullan Road, the first wagon road to cross the Rocky Mountains to the inland of the Pacific Northwest. The desire for a more convenient water supply to power a lumber and flour mill led to the movement of the settlement to its modern location in 1864.
The Missoula Mills replaced Hell Gate Village as the economic power of the valley and replaced it as the county seat in 1866. The name "Missoula" came from the Salish name for the Clark Fork River, "nmesuletkw", which roughly translates as "place of frozen water" and possibly refers to the ancient Glacial Lake Missoula once located in the valley. Fort Missoula was established in 1877 to help protect further arriving settlers. Growth accelerated with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1883, and the Town of Missoula was chartered the same year. Ten years later, Missoula was chosen as the location of the state's first university, the University of Montana. The need for lumber for the railway and its bridges spurred the opening of multiple saw mills in the area and, in turn, the beginning of Missoula's lumber industry that would remain the mainstay of the area's economy for the next hundred years. The continued economic windfall from railroad construction and lumber mills led to a further boom in Missoula's population. A.B. Hammond and Copper Kings Marcus Daly and William A. Clark competed fiercely in the region over lumber share and Missoula investments, and in 1908 Missoula became the district, and later a regional, headquarters for the United States Forest Service, which also began training smokejumpers in 1942.
Logging remained a mainstay of industry in Missoula with the groundbreaking of the Hoerner-Waldorf pulp mill in 1956, which resulted in protests over the resultant air pollution. An article in Life Magazine thirteen years later speaks of Missoulians sometimes needing to drive with headlights on during the day to navigate through the smog. In 1979, still almost 40% of the county's labor income came from the wood and paper products sector. The lumber industry was hit hard by the recession of the early 1980s, and Missoula's economy began to diversify. By the early 1990s the disappearance of many of the region's log yards, along with legislation, had helped clean the skies dramatically.
Today, education and healthcare are Missoula's leading industries with the University of Montana and the city's two hospitals acting as three of the largest employers. St. Patrick Hospital and Health Sciences Center, founded in 1873, is the region's only Level II trauma center and has undergone three major expansions since the 1980s. Likewise, the University of Montana grew 50% and built or renovated 20 buildings from 1990-2010. It is expected that these industries as well as expansions in business and professional services, and retail will be the main engines of future growth.
Missoula is located at the western edge of Montana approximately 45 miles (70 km) from the Idaho border. The city is at an elevation of 3,209 feet (978 m) above sea level, with nearby Mount Sentinel and Mount Jumbo steeply rising to 5,158 feet (1,572 m) and 4,768 feet (1,453 m) respectively. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.67 square miles (71.7 km2), of which, 27.51 square miles (71.3 km2) is land and 0.16 square miles (0.4 km2) is water.
Approximately 13,000 years ago, the entire valley was at the bottom of Glacial Lake Missoula and as could be expected for a former lake bottom, the layout of Missoula is relatively flat and surrounded by steep hills. Evidence of the city of Missoula's lake-bottom past can be seen in the form of ancient wave-cut shorelines that can now be seen as horizontal lines on nearby mountains Mount Sentinel and Mount Jumbo. At the location of present-day University of Montana, the lake once had a depth of 950 feet (290 m). The Clark Fork River enters the Missoula Valley from the east through Hellgate Canyon after joining the nearby Blackfoot River at the site of the former Milltown Dam. The Bitterroot River and multiple smaller tributaries join the Clark Fork on the western edge of Missoula. The city also sits at the convergence of five mountain ranges: the Bitterroot Mountains, Sapphire Range, Garnet Range, Rattlesnake Mountains, and the Reservation Divide, thus is often described as being the "Hub of Five Valleys".
Flora and fauna
Located in the Northern Rockies, Missoula has a typical Rocky Mountain ecology. Local wildlife includes populations of white-tailed deer, black bears, osprey, and bald eagles. During the winter months, rapid snow melt on Mount Jumbo due to its steep slope leaves grass available for grazing elk and mule deer. The rivers around Missoula provide nesting habitats for bank swallows, northern rough-winged swallows and belted kingfishers. Killdeer and spotted sandpipers can be seen foraging insects along the gravel bars. Other species include song sparrows, catbirds, several species of warblers, and the pileated woodpecker. The rivers also provide cold, clean water for native fish such as westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout. The meandering streams also attract beaver and wood ducks.
Native riparian plant life includes sandbar willows and cottonwoods with Montana's state tree, the Ponderosa Pine, also being prevalent. Other native plants include wetland species such as cattails and beaked-sedge as well as shrubs and berry plants like Douglas hawthorn, chokecherry, and western snowberries. To the chagrin of local farmers, Missoula is also home to several noxious weeds which multiple programs have set out to eliminate. Notable ones include dalmatian toadflax, spotted knapweed, leafy spurge, St. John's wort, and sulfur cinquefoil. Controversially, the Norway Maples that line many of Missoula's older streets have also been declared an invasive species.
Missoula has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk), with cold and moderately snowy winters, hot and dry summers, and spring and autumn are short and crisp in between. Winters are usually far milder than much of the rest of the state due to its location west of the Rockies, allowing it to be influenced more by mild, moist Pacific air and avoiding the worst of cold snaps; however, this means precipitation is not at a strong minimum during winter. Winter snowfall averages 39.5 inches (100 cm), on average occurring between October 30 and April 20. As with the rest of the state, summers are very sunny, and the diurnal temperature variation averages above 30 °F (17 °C) from late June through late September, due to the relative aridity. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 23.9 °F (−4.5 °C) in December to 68.6 °F (20.3 °C) in July. There is an average of 24 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, 45 days where the temperature does not rise above freezing, and 7.8 days with sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows annually.
|Climate data for Missoula, Montana (Missoula Airport), 1981–2010 normals|
|Record high °F (°C)||60
|Average high °F (°C)||33.2
|Average low °F (°C)||18.3
|Record low °F (°C)||−33
|Precipitation inches (mm)||.84
|Snowfall inches (cm)||9.3
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||11.8||9.4||11.4||11.1||12.3||12.1||7.1||7.5||8.2||8.4||11.1||12.3||122.7|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||9.4||6.9||5.2||1.7||.3||.1||0||0||0||.9||5.3||9.7||39.5|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||96.1||135.6||210.8||246.0||279.0||312.0||390.6||334.8||264.0||195.3||99.0||83.7||2,646.9|
|Source: NOAA (extremes 1893–present) HKO (sun 1961−1990)|
|Highest Educational Attainment
Population 25 years and over (2010)
|Less than 9th grade||2.4%||2.5%||6.1%|
|9th to 12th grade, no diploma||5.6%||5.8%||8.3%|
|High School Diploma or equivalent||21.5%||29.9%||28.5%|
|Graduate or Professional Degree||16.3%||9.0%||10.4%|
|High School or higher||92.0%||91.7%||85.6%|
|Bachelor's Degree or higher||41.7%||28.8%||28.2%|
The median income for a household in the city was $30,366, and the median income for a family was $42,103. Males had a median income of $30,686 versus $21,559 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,166. About 11.7% of families and 19.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over. 40.3% of Missoula residents age 25 and older have a bachelor's or advanced college degree.
As of the census of 2010, there were 66,788 people, 29,081 households, and 13,990 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,427.8 inhabitants per square mile (937.4 /km2). There were 30,682 housing units at an average density of 1,115.3 per square mile (430.6 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.1% White, 0.5% African American, 2.8% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.9% of the population.
There were 29,081 households of which 23.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.4% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 51.9% were non-families. 35.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.82.
The median age in the city was 30.9 years. 17.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 19.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.6% were from 25 to 44; 22.1% were from 45 to 64; and 10.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.9% male and 50.1% female.
Missoula began as a trading post in the 1860s situated along the Mullan Military Road to take advantage of the first route across the Bitterroot Mountains to the plains of Eastern Washington. Its designation as county seat in 1866 and location of the hastily built Fort Missoula in 1877 ensured Missoula's status as a regional commercial center; a status further consolidated in 1883 with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway. The railroad expanded Missoula's trade area to cover a 150-mile radius, and Missoula's location as the railway's division point and repair shops provided hundreds of jobs. When the railway began expanding again in 1898, increased freight shipments came through the city, and with the arrival of the Milwaukee Road and regional office for the U.S. Forest Service as well as the opening of the Flathead Indian Reservation to settlement all within a couple years of each other beginning in 1908, the economy began to rapidly expand.
Lumber mills, originally built to provide construction-grade materials for homes and business but then expanded to entice and then meet the demands of the railroad, profited from an increase in demand from railroad expansion and the nation at large. The Bonner mill, partly owned by both the Northern Pacific and Copper King Marcus Daly grew to become the largest producer of lumber in the northwest. Sixteen years later in 1908, Missoula's location as both a major lumber producer and a regional commercial center helped land the city the regional office for the newly establish U.S. Forest Service created to help manage the nation's timber supply. Over the next century, Missoula's various lumber industries would be consolidated under various entities such as the Anaconda Company in the 1970s and Champion International Paper through the 1980s until most were under control of Plum Creek Timber, all the while demand in timber dropped. In 2007 a downward spiral of Missoula's lumber industry began with the closure of a plywood plant in Bonner, followed by the closure of Bonner's sawmill the next year, and finally the closing of the Smurfit-Stone Container pulp mill in early 2010.
Since opening in 1895, the University of Montana has had a major impact on the development of Missoula's economy. In addition to the economic advantage from accommodating the student body it gave the city an educated workforce that was not available in most of the state. The university today has a very close relationship with the city as Missoula's largest employer and with the millions of dollars the school brings into the city through visitor of school-sponsored sporting and cultural events. The university also houses Missoula's only business incubator, the Montana Technology Enterprise Center (MonTEC), and several start-up businesses.
Beyond timber and education, Missoula's economic mainstay has been of one as a regional trade center. Today Missoula has an immediate trade area of approximately 180,000 residents and is determined by the US Department of Commerce to be the regional economic center for the western third of Montana with a population of 300,929. Key businesses sectors serving the area include health care, retail shopping, transportation, financial services, government/social services, education, events, arts and culture. Health care in particular is one of Missoula's fastest growing industries with St. Patrick Hospital (western Montana's only Level-II Trauma center) and the Community Medical Center already the city's second and third largest employers behind the university. Over all, 55% of employment in Missoula is made up of the service and retail sectors. Export industries are concentrated in heavy and civil engineering, construction, beverage production, technical services, truck transportation, and forestry/logging/wood related industries. In addition to nearly 4 million out-of-state visitors annually, which makes tourism a significant aspect of the Missoula economy, Missoula also is home to a vibrant sector of alternative healthcare.
Missoula is ranked 285 in gross metropolitan product with an output of $4.088 billion in 2009. The city ranked 314th in total personal income at $3.818772 billion, an increase from $2.197392 in 1999. Per capita income ranked 187th at $35,156 a year, 89% of the national average. As of November 2011, the Missoula (MSA)'s unemployment rate was 6.9%. As of January 2013, the Missoula (MSA)'s unemployment rate was 5.5% dropping nearly 1% in the past year.
As of 2006 one survey showed Missoula as having a primary trade area of 100,086 and a secondary trade area of 93,272.
"...the world outside, which my brother and I soon discovered was full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the farther one gets from Missoula, Montana." So wrote Norman Maclean in his classic A River Runs Through It, which takes place during the early 20th century. The novel is full of references to Missoula's natural surroundings, which along with its logging-town beginnings and location as the state's first university has continued to give Missoula an eclectic mix of cowboys and loggers co-existing with holdover hippies and college students, not to mention sports fans and retirees. Community events overwhelmingly take place downtown either outdoors or in one of the several downtown buildings listed on the National Historic Registry.
Since its beginnings in 2006, the River City Roots Festival has demonstrated itself as Missoula's signature celebration of city and now attracts more than 10,000 individuals. The longest-standing event downtown has been the Missoula Farmers' Market that was founded in 1972, which provides a weekly outlet for Western Montana produce during the spring and summer. Since then, an arts and crafts People's Market and a Clark Fork Market have been added nearby and run concurrently. Downtown also hosts a First Friday Gallery Night the first Friday of every month to showcase local art from museums and galleries, such as that of Monte Dolack. There is also New Year's Eve's First Night Missoula celebration, which includes food and live entertainment. The Humanities Montana Festival of the Book is held every October to celebrate the literature of the West, and Missoula's two historic theatres both hold annual film festivals: the Roxy hosting the International Wildlife Film Festival, established in 1977 as the first juried wildlife film festival in the world; and the Wilma accommodating the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival since 2003, the largest film event in Montana. In performance arts, the Missoula Community Theatre has held performances of musical and non-musical plays since 1977, with its affiliated Missoula Children's Theatre also acting as an international touring program that visits nearly 1,000 communities per year around the world.
The Montana Museum of Art & Culture, which officially became a state museum in 2001 and housed in a former Carnegie library, is one Montana's oldest cultural reserves with its permanent collection of more than 10,000 original works begun in 1894. Historic Fort Missoula is home to the Historic Museum, dedicated to preserving the history of Western Montana, and to the Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History and the Northern Rockies Heritage Center. It was announced by the National Museum of Forest Service History in 2009 that it plans to build a National Conservation Legacy and Education Center in Missoula as well.
Opened in 1987, Missoula's Bayern Brewing, Inc. is the oldest active brewery in Montana and bills itself as "the only German microbrewery in the Rockies". Big Sky Brewing was opened eight years later and, with a production of over 38,000 barrels, is by far Montana's largest brewery and produces the best-selling beer brewed in Montana, Moose Drool Brown Ale. Missoula has also been home to Kettle House Brewing Company since 1995 and Draught Works opened in 2011. Big Sky, Bayern, and Kettlehouse represent the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd largest breweries respectively in the state of Montana. Also in 2011, Tamarack Brewing and Flathead Lake Brewing Company from nearby Lake County opened pub houses at downtown Missoula locations. The city also holds annual the Garden City Brewfest and Winterfest, and also periodically hosts the Montana Brewers Festival.
Missoula's celebration of the outdoor can also be seen in notable non-profits based in the city such as the Adventure Cycling Association, the conservationist-hunting organizations Boone and Crockett Club and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Outdoor Writers Association of America. In an attempt to reduce harmful emissions, the non-profit Missoula in Motion promotes and encourages sustainable transportation options (walking, biking, car/vanpooling, riding the bus and telecommuting) for commuters to and from the work place. Other non-profits display Missoula's state reputation for promoting more liberal social causes. Promoter of marijuana law reform NORML has its state chapter in Missoula, as does the Montana Hemp Council. Forward Montana is an organization dedicated to "electing a new generation of progressive leaders in Montana." The Montana Justice Foundation, founded in 1979, is charitable organization that purports to make justice accessible while the Western Montana Gay & Lesbian Community Center and the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center focus on sustainable community. Likewise, also located in Missoula is the Poverello Center, the largest emergency homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Montana.
Missoula plays host to a variety of intercollegiate, youth, and amateur sports organizations in addition to a Minor league baseball team. The Montana Grizzlies' football and basketball teams of the University of Montana have the highest attendance. The Montana Grizzlies football team has a successful program within the NCAA D-1 FCS level. Their home games at Washington–Grizzly Stadium have a near 90% winning percentage and average over 25,000 spectators in attendance. All games are televised throughout Montana. The Grizzlies men's and Lady Griz basketball teams have also been successful at the conference level where they both rank at or near the top in attendance, about 4000 and 3000 respectively, and play their home games at Dahlberg Arena.
Missoula is also home to the Missoula Osprey, a rookie affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks that plays in the Rocky Mountain-based Pioneer Baseball League. They play their home games at Ogren Park at Allegiance Field. The Missoula Maulers were founded in 2007 as a Tier III Junior Ice Hockey. The Maulers play in the newly formed American West Hockey League made up of other Montana and northern Wyoming hockey teams. Also competing regionally are the Hellgate Rollergirls, a roller derby team that competes at the Adam's Center, and the Missoula Phoenix, an AAA semi-pro football team in the Rocky Mountain Football League. Since 1977, Missoula has also held "Maggotfest," a festival-style rugby tournament hosted by the Missoula All-Maggots Rugby Club the first weekend in May. The non-elimination tournament focuses on the fun aspect of the game, attracting 36 teams (male and female) from around the United States and Canada. In regular season play the Maggots compete as part of the Montana Rugby Union. Also in rugby are the University of Montana Jesters.
Parks and Recreation
Missoula's location in a river valley surrounded by mountains on all sides as well as its history has had a great influence on the development of the city's parks and recreation activities. Today the city boasts over 400 acres of parkland, 22 miles of trails, and nearly 5000 acres of open-space conservation land. Located at the confluence of three rivers (the Clark Fork, Bitterroot, and Blackfoot), the area is also popular for white water rafting and, thanks largely to the novel and subsequent film A River Runs Through It by Missoula native Norman Maclean, is well known for its fly fishing. Additionally, Missoula has two aquatic parks, multiple golf courses, is home to the Adventure Cycling Association, and hosts what Runner's World called the "best overall" marathon in the nation. There are also three ski areas within 100 miles: Montana Snowbowl, Discovery Ski Area, and Lost Trail Powder Mountain. Slightly farther away are Lookout Pass, Blacktail Mountain, and Big Mountain.
A system of public parks was developed in Missoula in 1902 with the donation of 42 acres along the Rattlesnake Creek for 'Greenough Park' by lumber baron Thomas Greenough and his wife Tessie. They simply asked that “the land forever be used as a park and for park purposes to which the people of Missoula may during the heated days of summer, the beautiful days of autumn, and the balmy days of spring find a comfortable, romantic and poetic retreat” with a follow-up nine years later in a letter to the Missoulian stressing his interest in having the park remain in as close to a native state as possible. Today, that request along with the discovery that non-native Norway Maples were inhibiting the growth of native trees and shrubs such as cottonwoods, ponderosa pines, Rocky Mountain maples led to the controversial decision to remove the beautiful, yet invasive tree from the park with the hope of returning it to its natural state.
In 1924, 'Bonner Park' was created out of John L. Bonner's estate near the university. The park today has multiple athletic fields and courts in addition a band shell used by the Missoula City band through the summer. The Kiwanis club set up a park downtown in 1934, making 'Kiwanis Park' the first of a string of parks that today lines both sides of the Clark Fork River. One of those parks on the southern bank of the river is 'McCormick Park', which was created with WPA funds out of surplus highway land, a parcel from the American Hide and Fur Company, and land donated from the Kate McCormick estate. The 26-acre park, named for Washington J. McCormick and his wife is home to a skate park, aquatics center, a free bike check-out and a children's fishing pond. Other popular parks include the 'Jacobs Island Bark Park', a designated area for dogs to play off-leash; the 'Memorial Rose Garden' dedicated to Montana's WWII and Vietnam veterans; 'Waterwise Garden', a "living laboratory" garden utilizing water conservation techniques; and 'Splash Montana Waterpark' at Playfair Park.
Caras Park, located just south of the historic Wilma Theatre downtown, was created as a result of a land reclamation project done as the state highway department replaced the aging, two-lane Higgins Avenue Bridge in 1962 with the current four-lane structure. Before the reclamation, the Clark Fork River divided to create an island with the north channel's bank extending to nearby buildings such as the Wilma Theatre. The south channel was deepened for the increased water flow and the infilled land later became Caras Park. Events in the park were not common until the early 1980s and permanent fixtures like Out to Lunch that began in 1986. The Missoula Downtown Association took over from Parks and Recreation for management of the park and made improvements to make Caras Park more event friendly. Seating, event circles, brick plazas, restrooms, and storage structures were added. Large temporary tents were used for events until 1997 when a permanent Caras Park Pavilion was constructed. With its centralized, waterfront location the park has become the hub of Missoula's festivities. These include Out to Lunch, the International Wildlife Film Festival, First Night Missoula, Garden City BrewFest and offered intimate concert settings for artists such as Jewel, Chris Isaak, Santana, Ziggy Marley, and B.B. King. Located next to Caras Park is 'A Carousel for Missoula', a wooden, hand-carved and volunteer-built carousel; and 'Dragon Hollow', a magical play land adjacent to the carousel.
Government and politics
|Ward 1||Dave Strohmaier/Jason Wiener|
|Ward 2||Adam Hertz/Cynthia Wolken|
|Ward 3||Stacy Rye/Bob Jaffe|
|Ward 4||Jon Wilkins/Caitlin Copple|
|Ward 5||Dick Haines/Mike O'Herron|
|Ward 6||Ed Childers/Marilyn Marler|
|Missoula's State Delegation
|SD 46||Sue Malek (D)|
|SD 47||Dick Barrett (politician) (D)|
|SD 48||Tom Facey (D)|
|SD 49||David Wanzenried (D)|
|SD 50||Cliff Larsen (D)|
|(House of Representatives)|
|HD 91||Chuck Erickson (R)|
|HD 92||Bryce Bennet (D)|
|HD 93||Douglas Coffin (D)|
|HD 94||Ellie Hill (D)|
|HD 95||Tom Steenberg (D)|
|HD 96||Carolyn Squires (D)|
|HD 97||Nancy Wilson (politician) (D)|
|HD 98||Jenifer Gursky (D)|
|HD 99||Kimberly Dudick (D)|
|HD 100||Champ Edmunds (R)|
Missoula's system of government has changed four times since 1883 when an aldermanic form of government was approved with the town charter. The city adopted a commission-council form of government in 1911 with the opening of new City Hall and a council–manager government in 1954 before returning to an aldermanic form of government in 1959. Since January 1, 1997, Missoula has been governed in accordance with the Missoula City Charter, which calls for a mayor-council system of government.
The current system comprises a mayor and city treasurer elected in a city-wide vote and twelve city council members who must reside in and are elected from one of six wards with each ward having two council members. All positions are nominally nonpartisan. Council members and the mayor are elected to four-year terms with council-member elections being staggered to allow only one member from each ward to up for re-election. There are no term limits for either position.
Missoula's state legislative delegation is the second largest in the Montana Legislature and is represented by districts 91–100 in the Montana House of Representatives and districts 46–50 in the Montana Senate. Among these, Senate districts 47-49 (House districts 93–98) primarily represent the urban area while Senate districts 46 & 50 (House districts 91–92, 99–100) also include large sections of rural Missoula County. Having 13 Democrats and two Republican in its state legislative delegation, Missoula is known as a more liberal area than the rest of the state.
Though Missoula's political leanings may not be unique for a college town, its initiative to make marijuana possession the lowest priority of law enforcement (2006) and symbolic resolutions calling on Congress to withdraw from Iraq (2007) and amend the U.S. Constitution to declare that "corporations are not human beings"(2011) often put it at odds with the rest of the state. In 2011, the Montana legislature with 68–32 Republican majority in the House attempted to overturn Missoula's marijuana law and revoke its ability to have an anti-discrimination ordinance that included the LGBT community. The marijuana initiative was successfully repealed while the other died in the Senate.
Despite Missoula's reputation as being the largest liberal-leaning county by population, it is not the most liberal county in Montana. Both Deer Lodge and Silver Bow County have more liberal voting records, though, this is likely due to strong union support in the two counties. However, Missoula's more liberal tendencies are still a relatively recent development with the county voting at least 6% more for the Democratic candidate than the rest of the state only since 1980 (this excludes 2000 where Ralph Nader received 15% of the county's vote). In fact, only since 1988 (excluding 2000) has the Democratic candidate received more votes than the Republican candidate. (It should be noted, however, that over 30% of Missoula County's population lives outside the city of Missoula). Before this, Missoula voted very closely with the rest of Montana or, actually, heavier Republican.
Missoula's first school was opened in the fall of 1869 with 16 students from around the region and their teacher Emma C. Slack who had come to Missoula via a two-month trip by horseback, railroad, and boat from Baltimore at the invitation of her brother. She resigned two years later upon marrying William H.H. Dickinson (the first couple married in Missoula) and was replaced by Elizabeth Countryman who would later marry Missoula's first mayor Judge Frank H. Woody. The first public high school was opened in 1904 but was quickly overrun with students and was converted back to a grade school after the A.J. Gibson designed Missoula County High School was opened in 1908. After several expansions, Stanford University was commissioned in 1951 to create a master building plan that would deal with future growth. It suggested purchasing land and building an additional campus at the Garden City Airport's Hale Field which was gradually being replaced by the Missoula County Airport west of town. The new school was opened in 1957. Initially the two campuses were separated between upper and lower classmen with upper classmen in the new school, but in 1965 the two campuses became separate high schools. By student vote, the original Missoula County High School became Hellgate High School and the new campus became Sentinel High School. In 1980, Missoula became the first city in Montana to have four secondary schools when Big Sky High School was established. Six years earlier Loyola Sacred Heart High School, a private Catholic school, was created from a merger of the all-girls Sacred Heart Academy (est. 1873) and the all-boys Loyola High School (est. 1911).
Missoula's public schools are part of the Missoula County Public School (MCPS) District 1 which is overseen by the Montana Office of Public Instruction. MCPS operates nine Elementary Schools (grades K–5), three Middle Schools (grades 6–8), and five High Schools which also encompass the elementary school districts of Bonner, Clinton, DeSmet, Hellgate, Lolo, and Target Range. Missoula also has several private schools including an international school, religious-affiliated schools, as well as Next Step Prep, a summer theater arts academy for high schoolers opened by the Missoula Children's Theatre in 2009.
Higher education in Missoula is dominated by the main campus of University of Montana. The university, established in 1893, is the first and largest (15,642 students in 2010) university in Montana. The campus houses 6 colleges and 3 schools including Montana's only Law School). The university is also the location of the state's Regional Federal Depository Library, and houses the State Arboretum. The University of Montana College of Technology, established in 1956, was formerly known as the Missoula Vocational Technical Center and offers fast-track learning programs. Multiple vocational programs not affiliated with the university ranging from photography and massage to truck driving also have a presence in Missoula.
Broadcast: Missoula's single broadcast over air television media market has been the largest in the state of Montana since 2002 and ranked #165 nationally (2012). Though Missoula itself is second in population to Billings, Montana, Missoula's single broadcast over air television media market includes all of Missoula, Ravalli, Granite, Mineral, Lake, Flathead, and Sanders Counties in the more densely populated western region of Montana and serves over 113,000 television homes (2011). Missoula is home to three local affiliate channels: KPAX-TV (CBS/MTN, The CW; founded 1970; channel 8), KECI-TV (NBC; founded 1954 as KGVO-TV; channel 13, and KTMF (ABC, FOX; founded 1991). Also based in Missoula at the University of Montana is Montana PBS (founded 1984; channel 11). There are also 4 AM and 17 FM radio stations licensed in the city (List of Stations).
Print: Missoula has four main sources of print media: the Missoulian (primary daily), Missoula Independent (alternative weekly), Montana Kaimin (college), and New West (digital, progressive). The Missoulian was founded as a weekly publication in 1870 as the Missoula & Cedar Creek Pioneer. It was converted to a weekly and changed to the current Missoulian in 1891 by the founder of the Missoula Mercantile Co., A. B. Hammond. Today, the Missoulian remains Missoula's most popular newspaper with a circulation of over 26,000.
 It is also the third most read newspaper in Montana behind the Billings Gazette and the Great Falls Tribune. The Missoula Independent (founded 1991) is the largest weekly newspaper in Montana and the states only member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. With over 21,000 readers it has twice the circulation of second place Billings Outpost. The newspaper is distributed free to more than 600 locations across Western Montana from Hamilton in the south to Whitefish in the north. The Montana Kaimin (founded 1891) is likewise distributee free throughout parts of Missoula with heavy student traffic from the University of Montana where the newspaper is printed M-F during the school year. New West was founded in 2005 as a left-leaning "next-generation media company" that focused on culture, environment, economy, and politics in the Rocky Mountain West.
Missoula has two primary health care facilities: The St. Patrick Hospital and Health Sciences Center and the Community Medical Center. St. Patrick was founded in 1873 under the sponsorship of the Sisters of Providence and is the only Level II trauma center in the region. It is the largest medical facility in Western Montana and has undergone three major expansions since the 1980s. The hospital has 195 acute-care beds, and in 2003 admitted over 9,700 patients. The name was changed from "St. Patrick Hospital" to "St. Patrick Hospital and Health Sciences Center" in 2000 to reflect an increasing involvement with national medical research and education. The Community Medical Center and its adjacent medical facilities are located near historic Fort Missoula and is part of a modern complex that includes a nursing home, the Missoula Crippled Children's Center and private offices. It was founded in 1922 as Thornton Hospital by Dr. Will Thornton and Dr. Charles Thornton. It has been at its current location since 1972 and is the only facility providing obstetrical and newborn care in Missoula County in addition to being the only hospital in western Montana that has a separate Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The center is partnered with Seattle Children's Hospital The nearest Level I trauma center to Missoula is Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington.
The earliest Missoulians are recorded as drawing their water directly from the Clark Fork River or nearby Rattlesnake Creek. The first "water system" consisted of a Native American known as "One-Eyed Riley" and his friend filling buckets of water from the Rattlesnake Creek and hauling them door to door on a donkey cart. Shortly thereafter in 1871 city co-founder Frank Worden began construction of a log pipe and wooden main system that flowed from the Rattlesnake Creek 2 1/2 miles north of the city. With the addition of two small covered reservoirs, the first municipal water system was begun in 1880. With an intake dam built in 1901 with a settling basin capacity of 3 million gallons, the Rattlesnake Creek continued to meet demands of the city until 1935 when five wells were added to augment demand from the summer and autumn months. This system is still maintained as an emergency back-up, but was discontinued as a primary source in 1983 when a Giardia problem arose. Since then, Missoula has relied on the Missoula Valley Aquifer as the sole source of water.
In 1889, the first electrical plant was built by A. B. Hammond to power his major downtown properties such as the Missoula Mercantile and the Florence Hotel. In 1905, the Missoula Mercantile Co. (then owned by Copper King William A. Clark purchased the water system and consolidated it with its vast electrical holdings to create the Missoula Light and Water Company (ML&W) a year later. Electricity and Water remained bundled after ML&W's sale to the Montana Power Company (MPC) in 1929 until 1979 when MPC sold off its water utility holdings as Mountain Water Company to Sam Wheeler's Park Water Company based in Downey, California. Mountain Water Company has been Missoula's provider of drinking water since. Following the deregulation of Montana's electricity market in 1997, Montana Power Company began to divest its energy business. MPC sold substantially all its electrical generating assets to PPL Montana in December 1997 and its energy transmission and distribution business to NorthWestern Corporation in February 2002. Despite filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002, NorthWestern Corporation's subsidiary NorthWestern Energy is the primary provider of electric and natural gas service to Missoula in addition to the Rural Utilities Service's Missoula Electric Cooperative.
Local telephone service in the area is proved by CenturyLink and Blackfoot Telecommunications Group. Major cell phone providers include AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile. Trash pickup in Missoula is handled by Allied Waste Industries and Grant Creek Water Systems. Allied Waste also handles recycling through a "Blue Bag" program where customers can purchase special blue bags to designate recyclables. Recycling has also been offered by Missoula Valley Recycling since 1992 and Garden City Recycling since 2010 which offer curbside pickup and Pacific Steel & Recycling which offers drop-off recycling. Sewer services is handled by the City of Missoula Wastewater Division.
City layout and development
In the mid-1860s C.P. Higgins and Frank Worden began plotting what would become the town of Missoula along the Mullan military road which followed the northern bank of the Clark Fork River. This road, known today in downtown Missoula as Front Street, intersected by Higgins Avenue which in 1873 added a bridge to cross to the southern side of river. This intersection became the default center of the city, and today is still the numerical center regarding street addresses. The arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1883 led to a housing boom along the tracks, particularly on the northern side where many of the railway workers would reside. When the Higgins Avenue Bridge was replaced in 1893 there was debate of whether the bridge should continue angled toward the Bitterroot Valley as it had earlier or straight across so as to be oriented north and south. Attorneys W.M. Bickford and W.J. Stephens had already laid out plots of land five years earlier for what they hoped would be a new town of "South Missoula" that were perpendicular to the Bitterroot Wagon Road while Judge Hiram Knowles who owned the land just south of the river preferred the north-south plan and did not want to become part of South Missoula anyway. The result was a 7x14 block area along the west side of Higgins Avenue commonly referred to as the Slant Streets centered along what is now Stephens Avenue. Stephens Avenue and Brooks Street are the only arterials to traverse the city diagonally along with the Bitterroot Branch of Montana Rail Link. The rest of the city with the exception of Downtown, where streets follow the angle of the river, and newer expansions into the hills strictly follow the grid plan. With the establishment of the University of Montana in 1893 and the announcement that the now-defunct Milwaukee Road would be located south of the river houses began to spread quickly throughout the university and south side districts. The area near the university was promoted as high-end and soon luxurious homes appeared on Millionaires Row on Hammond (now Gerald) Avenue. The arrival of Interstate 90 in the mid-1960s forced the removal of 60 homes, including the Greenough Mansion. The north side of Missoula became isolated between the Interstate and the tracks while the Greenough Mansion was moved to a South Hills golf course and converted to a restaurant. This dichotomy has prevailed with the North Side feeling neglected by the city and the South Hills becoming the city's new upscale region. With the release of the latest Missoula Downtown Master Plan in 2009 increased emphasis was directed toward redeveloping the North Side's former rail yard and the area just south of the tracks.
Overall, the city is officially divided into eighteen neighborhood councils of which all Missoula residents are a member. The city further contains ten historical districts: Downtown Missoula, East Pine Street, Fort Missoula, Lower Rattlesnake, McCormick, Missoula County Fairgrounds, Northside, Southside, University Area and, the University of Montana Campus. Also, as the primary city of the Missoula Metropolitan Statistical Area, all other communities within Missoula County also being part of said area. This includes Bonner-West Riverside, Clinton, East Missoula, Evaro, Frenchtown, Lolo, Orchard Homes, Seeley Lake, Wye, and Condon
Missoula has an extensive trail system for both commuting and recreation that extend over 22 miles (35 km). The city is actively trying to connect its various sections within the city to each other and to recreational trails extending beyond the city. The heart of the Missoula Commuter Bike Network are the trails along either side of the Clark Fork River that link Downtown with surrounding neighborhoods, the university, city parks, and outlying open space with smooth surfaces and three bicycle/pedestrian bridges. The most southern of these trails follows the path of the former Milwaukee Railroad, and thus is also known as the Milwaukee Trail, continues east out of town as the Kim Williams Nature Trail beside Mount Sentinel. The Bitterroot Branch Trail connects to the Riverfront trails west of Downtown and, when completed, will provide a trail from the Downtown region to Southgate Mall. Near the Bitterroot Branch Trail, but not connected, is the South Avenue Trail on the west side of Reserve Street that connects the Community Medical Center with Fort Missoula, nearby athletic fields, and the Bitterroot River. The South Hills neighborhood has its own system of trails that is also approaching, but not quite meeting, the larger network.
Due to its rural location, highway access is especially important to Missoula. Interstate 90 runs west to east along the northern edge of Missoula at the base of the North Hills with all but a small portion of the city located south of the highway. Completed in 1965 at the expense of 60 homes, the Garden City Brewery and the Greenough Mansion, I-90 has four city exits and makes connections with U.S. Route 93, U.S. Route 12, and MT 200. The original U.S. 12, approved by the AASHO in 1939 to extend west into Montana did not include Missoula until the highway was rerouted along State Route 6 in October 1959 and was not extended west from Missoula until 1962. The road now crosses Missoula diagonally from the southwest corner of the city east toward Helena. U.S. 93 serves as a major economic corridor for western Montana connecting Missoula with the Bitterroot Valley communities to the south and Flathead Lake, Kalispell, and Glacier National Park to the north. Montana Highway 200,the longest state highway in the United States enters Missoula from the east and provides access along the Blackfoot River and a direct route to Great Falls.
Public transportation in Missoula began as early as 1890 with a horse-drawn streetcar system (electrified in 1910) operated by the Missoula Street Railway Company that connected Downtown Missoula with the university as well as Bonner,the fairgrounds and Fort Missoula. These streetcars were then replaced by buses in 1932 due to cost. Bus service today is provided by Mountain Line, a public transit agency created by public vote in 1976 as part of the Missoula Urban Transportation District (MUTD) that began operation in December 1977. Mountain Line operates twelve bus routes within a 36-square-mile (93 km2) area, serving Missoula, East Missoula, Bonner, Target Range, Rattlesnake, and the airport. Additionally the line has offered paratransit services since 1991 to assist the disabled, senior van since 2008, and has four park-n-ride lots throughout Missoula. Special bus service is offered to the University of Montana through three of the city's park-n-ride lots in addition to a late-night UDASH shuttle that offers service to and from Downtown.
Intercity rail travel began with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1883 and continued until 1979 when Amtrak discontinued its North Coast Hiawatha route which ran through southern Montana. The Northern Pacific built their station on Higgins Avenue in 1901, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A feasibility study was commissioned by Congress in 2008 to examine the merits of reopening the North Coast Hiawatha, but currently the nearest rail station to Missoula is the Whitefish station of the Empire Builder 136 miles (219 km) to the north. Direct intercity ground travel needs are now provided by bus carriers Greyhound Lines, and Rimrock Trailways.
Air travel to Missoula began in 1927 and is today served by Missoula International Airport at (Johnson-Bell Field), a public airport run by the Missoula County Airport Authority. It is currently the largest airport in western Montana, serving 582,821 passengers in 2011. The current building contains three 3 jet bridges and 3 ground-level boarding gates, offers year-round direct flights to 7 destinations (Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Seattle) and seasonal flights to Chicago, Portland, and San Francisco). Four airlines operate out of Missoula (Allegiant Air, Delta Air Lines, Horizon/Alaska Airlines, and United Airlines) in addition to the Air Cargo Carriers FedEx, and UPS. The airport is also home to Homestead Helicopters and Fixed-Base Operators Minuteman Jet Center (an Exxon Mobil Avitat fuel provider), and Northstar Jet (a Phillips 66 fuel provider).
Missoula has produced and been home to a number of notable individuals in varying fields. Its natives and residents are referred to as "Missoulians". In politics, Jeannette Rankin, the first woman in congress, was born and raised in Missoula while Senators Mike Mansfield, the U.S.'s longest serving Senate Majority Leader, and Max Baucus, Montana's current and longest serving U.S. Senator both established careers and joined politics while living in the city. Noted athletes who were born or resided in Missoula include 5 Olympic medalists, Pro Football Hall of Fame Quarterback John Elway, and former Milwaukee Bucks coach Larry Krystowiak. Actor Dana Carvey and filmmaker David Lynch were both born in Missoula while Carroll O'Connor and J.K. Simmons both attended the University of Montana. Composer David Maslanka and musician Jeff Ament reside in Missoula. Academically, Missoula has been home to Nobel Prize winners Harold C. Urey and Steve Running as well as noted Montana historian K. Ross Toole and award-winning biologist Leroy Hood. Noted names in literature include Native-American poet James Welch, crime novelist James Crumley, Richard Hugo, who headed the University of Montana's Creative Writing Program, and Norman Maclean, whose A River Runs Through It chronicles his life in early-century Missoula.
Missoula's Sister City relationship with Palmerston North, New Zealand began after Missoula resident and later University of Montana professor Harold Bockemuehl returned from obtaining his Ph.D from Massey University. The relationship was made official in 1983 after a meeting between then UM President Neil Bucklew and officials from Massey University. Recently Missoula began celebrating New Zealand Days in honor of the relationship with rugby, food, and entertainment. Missoula's second Sister City relationship began in 1991 after a Neckargemünd delegation, led by Mayor Oskar Schuster, visited Missoula following a Fulbright-sponsored faculty exchange between Heidelberg University and the University of Montana. Every September the Missoula Cultural Council holds an annual Germanfest to celebrate German culture and this relationship.
Informally, the Missoula Cultural Council also fosters international connections with:
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Missoula, Montana.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Missoula, Montana.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Missoula.|
- Missoula Visitors Bureau
- Missoula Chamber of Commerce
- Missoula, Montana travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Missoula, Montana at DMOZ
- "Missoula". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
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