Located four miles west of the current townsite, the Hellgate Trading Post was initially established in 1860 to trade with Indians, miners traveling through the area, ranchers, and farmers settled in adjoining valleys. Missoula soon blossomed into a town of 300 people in 1883 when the Northern Pacific Railroad made its pass through the valley on its way to the west coast, and continued to grow to a size of 12,000 by 1920 with an economy based on trade, timber and agriculture. During this period of time, the city was incorporated and things were beginning to look up for this part of the state.
Known as the "Garden City" for its forested, lush surroundings and plentiful fresh water, Missoula continues to be at the head of Montana cities in culture, community and bringing in national events to our local venues. Considered by many to be the most liberal town of Montana; Missoula stays active year round with events, outdoor activities, local breweries, and an abundance of city parks to help chase away the creeping cabin-fever.