Cultural Resource Management Service Across The Rocky Mountain West

Fort Missoula Historic District

The Fort Missoula Historic District is a large and diverse district comprised of approximately 1,700 acres and twenty-nine buildings, one object, two structures, four sites, and twenty-four non-contributing structures. The Fort Missoula Historic District was formally listed on the National Register of Historic Places in April of 1987. Fort Missoula is eligible for the National Register under Criteria A for its role in World War II and under Criteria C for the distinctive characteristic and style of architecture and construction. Commerce, politics, local government, architecture, and social history are all represented by the nomination of Fort Missoula to the National Register (Fort Missoula Nomination Form 1987).

The research included the holdings of the Missoula City-County Historic Preservation Office; the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, including the historical photographs, the special collections and the holdings of the K. Ross Toole Archives; the Missoula City County Public Library; the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula Archives; the Missoula County Clerk and Recorder’s Office; the Missoula County Surveyor’s Office; the historical files at the Missoula County Courthouse; the USDI Bureau of Land Management land records in Billings and Missoula; the records of the USDA Forest Service in Missoula; and the records of the Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History.

The remote sensing phase of the investigation included taking aerial infrared photographs, electric resistivity, magnetometer, and metal detector testing to gather as much data as possible about the historic archaeological resource in a non-destructive manner. The various techniques were chosen so that the results of each investigation would assist with each subsequent technique.

The investigation located seven features and one building. Guardsman Lane should be considered as a contributing resource to the existing historic district for its association with the Civilian Conservation Corps. Feature 1, a trash deposit, dates from the 1880s to the turn of the century. The historic information potential of this resource is significant, even when considering the effects of looting. This resource has the potential to address a wide range of research topics, including military forts in the West, the presence of children in the West and at military forts, the social and economic development of Missoula, the social and economic relationship between the city and the Fort and more. The resource should be considered as a contributing resource to the existing historic district.

It is important to note that none of the foundations, F-2, the Bakery; F-3 and F-4, CCC Warehouses; and F-5, F-6, F-7, guard towers and station; are considered as independently eligible for the NRHP or as contributing resources to the existing historic district. However, the areas surrounding Features 2, 3, and 4 have a historic archaeological component and these resources should be considered as contributing resources to the existing historic district.

Project Photos