Kalispell: Montana's Eden

About 3,500 people came down to the freshly laid railroad tracks in the center of Kalispell on New Year’s Day 1892 to celebrate the completion of the Great Northern Railway line to St. Paul. 

Kalispell was officially incorporated as a city a short time later, in April. The earliest occupations in Kalispell related to agriculture, flour milling, and the lumber industry. Traffic in town slowly shifted toward tourism as Kalispell became the Gateway to Glacier National Park.

The railroad brought Northwest Montana into the larger world; now, for the first time, the Northwest Montana History Museum tells the story of Kalispell in a permanent exhibit that brings the early town to life. 

Kalispell: Montana’s Eden details the story of this thriving city, from the railroad’s arrival up to the present day. Highlights of the display include a 20-foot-long model of Kalispell’s 1892 Great Northern Railway depot, a movie projector from the old Orpheum theater, the original printing press of the Daily Inter Lake, the oldest mounted bald eages in the world, and hundreds more historic artifacts!

As the largest exhibition curated in the past dozen-plus years at the Northwest Montana History Museum, Kalispell: Montana’s Eden represents years of work and planning and stands as the museum’s most ambitious undertaking in decades.

Come see how Kalispell evolved into the cultural, economic, and transportation hub of the Flathead Valley.