It’s about time. We are now on Instagram!
city, seat (1866) of Missoula county, western Montana, U.S. It is situated on Clark Fork of the Columbia River, at the mouth of the Bitterroot River, near the Bitterroot Range in a broad valley (elevation 3,223 feet [982 metres]). The first white settler in the area was Father Pierre-Jean de Smet, who in 1841 founded St. Mary's Mission at nearby Stevensville. Missoula originated in the 1860s as a trading post on the Mullan Road, a wilderness trail between Fort Benton, Montana, and Walla Walla, Washington. It was formerly called Hellgate Village (like Hellgate Canyon, reportedly named for the carnage found there by French trappers); the etymology of its present name is uncertain, but it is thought to derive from a Salish Indian phrase meaning "cold water." Its development was stimulated after 1883, when it became a division point on the Northern Pacific Railway, and with the founding there of the University of Montana in 1893.