Northwest Montana History Museum | Kalispell, Montana
Explore the history of the Flathead Valley in this four-story stone and brick schoolhouse, a house of education from 1896 to 1989. After complete renovation in 1999, the building now houses a museum illuminating local area history, including Indian culture, and the turn-of-the-century community of Demersville, Montana pioneer, author & statesman Frank Bird Linderman, northwest Montana timber industry, and an exhibition on the History of the Flathead Valley. Monthly history book club and historic film club open to all, expanded gift shop with a wide selection of Montana-made products and books on Montana history and lore, and elegant rooms for rent at reasonable rates for community events. Call 406 756-8381 for more information.
It is significant that the very first substantial building of brick and mortar that Flathead Valley pioneers chose to erect in the burgeoning town of Kalispell was a school house. For 95 years Central School served many thousands of local youth, mostly at the elementary level, but also at times as a junior high and high school, and for its last 20 years as part of the growing Flathead Community College.
The building continues to serve the community's educational needs now as a local history museum. Architect William White of Great Falls specified a building of locally fired brick with stone trimmings and inside finishings of native wood, oiled and varnished. The cost in 1894 was $20,000. The building is an unusually fine example of the increasingly rare architectural style called Richardsonian Romanesque, with arches, decorative brickwork, and rough-dressed stone belt courses.
Historical Time Period for Site
Built in 1894, complete restoration in 1999
Driving Directions from Nearest Town or Landmark
Two blocks east of Highway 93 in historic downtown Kalispell, located at 124 2nd Ave E., one block north of the Hockaday Museum of Art
Monday through Friday, 10 to 5