Though it gained its name because of the US Army’s early presence, Fort Missoula has come to be a final resting place for quite a bit of western Montana’s pioneer history.
Number 7 leads things off as the railroads followed the men into the country to harvest the bounty of nature. The locomotive is an unusual one – a Shay type – the wheels are gear and not piston driven, which means every wheel set supplies power.
The 110 year old Drummond Station used to be 60 miles away. Drummond was a part of the “Milwaukee Road” that ran from Chicago to the Northwest. It was partially the opening of the Panama Canal that doomed this rail company – it became very expensive to build, maintain and power the many miles of mountainous track in the West.
Who knew Library cars were a part of the past. This mostly restored bookmobile was used by the Anaconda Copper Mining lumber department from 1921 to the 1950s.
St. Michael’s Church dates back to 1863. It has been moved three times but looks like it was built where it sits
What appears to be an old homestead is actually 3 different exhibits. The oldest building, at left, dates back to the founding of the fort in 1878 and was the NCO quarters. The homestead cabin at center came from 20 miles away. Incredible to think of the kind of effort that went into gathering all this history. There was much more to see but time and weather conspired to cut things short.