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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Kalispell in Flathead County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Main Street Commercial Historic District

 
 
Main Street Commercial Historic District Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2020
1. Main Street Commercial Historic District Marker
Inscription.  As the tracks of the Great Northern Railway inched westward from St. Paul to Seattle, Flathead Valley towns vied for designation as the railway’s division point. In the spring of 1891, however, railroad officials purchased land from the Reverend George Fisher and other early residents, founding a new settlement. The new town of Kalispell was platted in “T-town” form with Main Street perpendicular to one side of the proposed tracks. Some who doubted that the railroad would ever touch the new settlement dubbed it “Collapsetown” and “Wait a Spell,” but even so lots sold for as much as $1,250. Construction boomed on Main Street with typical first generation wooden frame buildings, while many businesses were moved on log rollers four miles across the prairie from once-thriving Demersville. On New Year’s Day of 1892, the tracks officially reached Kalispell. Banners proclaimed “Kalispell and St. Paul United by Steel,” and “beer and whiskey were as free as the fresh air.” Although the railroad moved its division point to Whitefish in 1904, Kalispell continued to prosper. Designated county seat
Main Street Commercial Historic District Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2020
2. Main Street Commercial Historic District Marker
in 1893 and later bolstered by the homesteading era, the lumber industry, and tourism, Kalispell became an important trade, financial, and service center. Today landmark buildings designed by architects Marion Riffo, Fred Brinkman, and George Shanley anchor the district, but interspersed among them in greater numbers are the simple commercial buildings constructed by local masons and contractors. These form the true heart of this historic district, recalling the time when watering troughs, hitching rings, and wooden sidewalks lined the streets.
 
Erected by Montana Historical Society.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & StreetcarsSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Montana National Register Sign Program series list.
 
Location. 48° 11.798′ N, 114° 18.769′ W. Marker is in Kalispell, Montana, in Flathead County. Marker is at the intersection of South Main Street and 2nd Street East, on the left when traveling south on South Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 217 South Main Street, Kalispell MT 59901, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Knight and Twining Block (within shouting distance of this marker); Heller Building (within shouting distance
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of this marker); Masonic Temple (within shouting distance of this marker); Brewery Saloon (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Missoula Mercantile/Kalispell Mercantile (about 300 feet away); Kalispell Hotel (about 400 feet away); Cry Building (about 500 feet away); McIntosh Opera House (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kalispell.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 21, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 25 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 21, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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Mar. 3, 2021