Situated west of the Continental Divide, the town of Missoula started in 1860 as a trading post called Hellgate that supplied miners with flour, trade goods, and, later, lumber. Its designation as county seat in 1860 and the arrival of two railroads (the Northern Pacific in 1883 and the Milwaukee Road in 1909) cemented the community’s role as a center of commerce. Missoula gained prominence when it was selected as home to the state university in 1895 and the United States Forest Service’s regional district headquarters in 1908.
With a flourishing downtown district and well-preserved historic homes, Missoula’s streetscapes today reflect the town’s abundant history and rich architectural legacy. Missoula’s buildings, parks, and historic sites await your discovery, on the streets of Missoula and through this lively guide.