city, seat (1887) of Cascade county, west-central Montana, U.S. It lies along the Missouri River, near the falls (96 feet [29 metres] high) for which it was named. In 1805 the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark observed the falls and nearby Giant Springs, one of the world's largest freshwater springs. First settled in 1883, the community was sustained with the arrival in 1887 of the Manitoba Railway. Great Falls has since become Montana's second-largest city and a financial, distributing, manufacturing, and agricultural centre (based largely on local mineral resources, wheat, and livestock). Copper, zinc, and aluminum are processed, and flour is milled. Nearby Malmstrom Air Force Base is the site of a Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) installation
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