“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Missoula in Missoula County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)

Northwest Passage

Captain Lewis in the Missoula Valley

Northwest Passage Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 11, 2018
1. Northwest Passage Marker
Inscription. Since the late 1400s and the time of Columbus, explorers from all over the world eagerly sought to discover the legendary water route, or "Northwest Passage," that was rumored to bisect the resource-rich interior of the North American continent.
As late as 1803, President Jefferson's long list of instructions to Captain Meriwether Lewis included:

"The object of your mission its to explore the Missouri River..." and to determine "... the most practicable water communication across this continent for the purpose of commerce."

But on July 4th, 1806, while traveling through the Missoula Valley on his return to St. Louis, a disappointed Captain Lewis finally concluded that the most practical route between the Missouri River (east of the Rocky Mountains) and the Columbia River (west of the Rocky Mountains) was by land, following hundreds of miles of trail over difficult terrain. Lewis and Clark's western explorations helped put the 300-year-old "Northwest Passage" myth to rest.

(sidebar on right:)
After Lewis & Clark

Fifty-three years later (1859) Lieutenant John Mullen was put in charge of constructing a primitive military road between the Missouri and Columbia Rivers. The road would also allow important supplies to be transported
Northwest Passage Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 11, 2018
2. Northwest Passage Marker
Marker on the left
to the new settlements between the two great rivers.
Mullan first determined that Lewis and Clark's suggestions for a road were unfeasible. Mullan's well researched route was much more practical, but was still a whopping 624 miles long, and often took over two months to travel by wagon. Sections of the Mullan Road are still in use in Washington, Idaho and Montana - including Missoula.
Erected by National Park Service.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition marker series.
Location. 46° 52.14′ N, 113° 59.82′ W. Marker is in Missoula, Montana, in Missoula County. Marker can be reached from Carousel Drive near South Higgins Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 123 Carousel Drive, Missoula MT 59802, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Name That River (here, next to this marker); A Shortcut (here, next to this marker); Danger Ahead! (a few steps from this marker); Free Speech Corner (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort Missoula (approx. 3.3 miles away); Fort Missoula, Montana (approx. 3.4 miles away); Fort Missoula Post Headquarters (approx. 3˝ miles away); T-1 Post Headquarters (approx. 3˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Missoula.
More about this marker. This marker is on Riverfront Trail, opposite Brennan's Wave, in Caras Park.
Categories. ExplorationRoads & Vehicles
Credits. This page was last revised on September 16, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 16, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 16, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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