Kalispell MontanaKalispell Montana


Kalispell Montana Montana Random Tour

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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Kalispell Montana is a beautiful western town surrounded by National Forest, and trimmed by Flathead Lake. We are the beneficiaries of over 10,000 square miles of parks and national forests of the Northern Rocy Mountains. To the west is the Kootenai National Forest, and to the east is the Flathead National Forest. The area is famous for the many glacier-carved mountains and valleys.

Flathead Lake

A Brief Kalispell History

The town of Kalispell was established in the early 1890's, and incorporated in 1892, as the railroad came through. The Great Northern Railway was the initial impetus for the town as businessman Charles Conrad established Kalispell around the division point of the railroad in 1891. However, the route over Marion Hill was a tough haul for locomotives - even tougher than going over the Continental Divide! So in 1904 the Great Northern moved its mail line to Whitefish which was touted as, “a heavily wooded, swampy marsh full of green frogs, lizards and other creepy things with trees so big and so thick that the sun could hardly shine through.” . The area is still served by the Amtrak station in Whitefish.

1910 was a banner year for the area with the creation of both Glacier National Park, and the Flathead Indian Reservation (which served poorly to protect Native Americans from the onslaught of settlers brought into the area by heavy Great Northern promotions.)

The national forest areas around Kalispell experience periodic forest fires, but none to compare with the Half Moon Fire which started west of Columbia Falls, and swept across the mountains into Glacier National Park in 1929. In a mere three days it burned 103,000 acres in a 30-mile swath. Since then, Mother Nature has beautifully restored these areas into prime Elk and wildlife habitat.

In 1938, Kerr Dam was built at Polson. This dam is 204 feet high, and controls the water of the top 10 feet of Flathead Lake. And in 1947, the Big Mountain Ski Resort began operations, solidifying the area as a main tourist destination.

Kalispell in the 1950's

Although we have a colorful 20th century turn of the century history, the real expansion of Kalispell began in the the 21st Century. The beautiful Flathead lake has seeded a flourishing arts community and Kalispell now holds over 2 dozen art galleries and studios! We have numerous Antique stores, gift shops and other high-quality tourist attractions.

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