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furnished rentals in Missoula, Montana starting at $80/day
short-term housing in the Missoula area
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Missoula city overview
Missoula, Montana is the second largest city in the state after Billings with a population of around 80,000 for the city and 120,000 for the wider metro area. Nicknamed The Garden City, Missoula is full if history and character and is a great place to live and work.
Brief history of Missoula
Artifacts found in the region date the first occupants at around 12,000 years ago. Various Native American peoples have called the area home ever since, with Europeans arriving with the Lois and Clark expedition.
The location had a lot to do with the founding of the city. Located at the confluence of five mountain valleys it was a natural crossing point for trails throughout the area. It’s early history is somewhat grisly, with so many human bones being found in the area, local traders called it Hell Gate. A name the area kept until being renamed Missoula in 1866.
In 1860, a trading post was established in what is now downtown. Early settlers made their living trading and logging before the Missoula Mills arrived. Fort Missoula was built in 1877 to protect the inhabitants and growth was steady from there,. The arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1883 accelerated that growth so much that the state’s first university was built in 1893.
Industry and logging maintained the city’s fortunes before declining due to recession. Education and healthcare took over as the main economic drivers and remain the primary employers in the area to this day.
Doing business in Missoula
Missoula was originally famed for logging and paper products but this declined steadily throughout the 20th century. The modern city relies on education and healthcare as well as the myriad of smaller supporting industries to maintain its fortune.
The University of Montana is a big player in the city and brings a significant income to the city, both as an employer and through students. Healthcare has a presence too with St. Patrick Hospital and the Community Medical Center employing lots of locals.
Highlights of Missoula
Some of the highlights of the city have to be the Rocky Mountains and Mount Sentinel as well as the Clark Fork River. The surrounding area ensures outdoor sports are a large part of life in the city for both locals and visitors alike. The mountains have dozens of trails that cover miles of the surrounding area, which are a big draw for visitors.
Other highlights of Missoula include; Bayern Brewing, Missoula Community Theatre, River City Roots Festival, Montana Book Festival, Missoula Children’s Theatre, Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre and the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
Missoula city character
Missoula is a real mix of influences. It identifies with the Pacific Northwest and is a real mixture of students, academics, cowboys, loggers and blue collar workers. Everyone seems to get along and the city as a whole seems very liberal and relaxed.
One thing visitors often say about Missoula is that it is difficult to drive around. While sharing the typical grid system as other cities, differing ideas from the original city planners created a somewhat confusing road system. Fortunately, the city has a good bus system that can take you almost anywhere you need to go in the center.