During the 1800s, saw mills were powered by water. Later, steam would turn timber into the Valley’s economic engine.
Sand Monkeys, Tie Hacks, and River Pigs tells the story of the men who laid their lives on the line every time they went out to work.
The timeline of the logging industry that began in 1875 is chronicled through artifacts, photographs, and documents, that depict what everyday life was like in remote logging camps.
The first commercial saw mill in the Valley was not erected until 1884, but the number of mills increased once the Indian reservation was opened to homesteaders. It was not until the turn of the century that larger mills began popping up, driven by capital from eastern investors. The earlier water-powered saw mills gave way to steam, greatly increasing output.
The arrival of the Great Northern Railroad in 1889 opened new and larger markets for Montana’s timber, which in turn helped fuel growth in the early Flathead Valley.