Fort Owen State Park in Montana

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Fort Owen State Park

Rich in history, Fort Owen State Park, in western Montana, is the site of the first permanent white settlement in the area and the ideal picnic spot for the weary traveler.

  • Fort Owen State Park is located in Stevensville, Montana.
  • Step back in time as you tour this historic site.
  • Don't miss Fort Owen Day celebrated every 4th of July.
  • Tour the old buildings of the first white settlement in the area.

Overview

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Fort Owen State Park will take you back in time as you explore the site of the first permanent white settlement in Montana. In 1841, Pierre DeSmet came to what is now Montana, to establish a Christian mission.

Fort Owen is just 2 acres and is open year round, free of charge. Come enjoy the restored adobe and log structures, period furnishings and artifacts from a time long ago. Interpretive signs will help guide you through the history of the fort.

After your tour, have a picnic and imagine spending a winter in one of the drafty structures, brrr!  Don't miss 'Fort Owen Day,' celebrated each 4th of July.

Location/Information

Located in western Montana, Fort Owen State Park is located near the Stevensville Junction. Just drive half a mile east on Secondary 269.

The Fort offers picnic areas and a vault toilet. Please keep dogs on a leash and take all your garbage with you. Fort Owen State Park is free of charge, but donations are appreciated.

Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks
Fort Owen State Park
3201 Spurgin Road
Missoula, MT 59804
Phone: 406-542-5500, 406 273-4253
http://fwp.mt.gov/
Email: fwprg22@mt.gov  

History

What this state park lacks in activities it makes up for with history. The rich history of Fort Owen dates back to 1841 when Pierre DeSmet established his Christian mission. By the late 1840's the missionaries grew weary. After much struggle due to lack of funds, doubt among the converts and strife with Native Americans, the mission was closed.

In 1850, John Owen came into the picture. He bought the old mission and set up a regional trade center, humbly named Fort Owen. Over the years, Fort Owens became the 'first' for a lot of things in the area; including first saw mill, first agricultural development, first water rights and first school.

Today, we have the opportunity to tour this reconstructed piece of western history.

Tour the Site

Step back in time and imagine life back in the 1840's. It would be quit different. Tour the museum, located in one of the restored adobe structures. The east barracks contain four distinct rooms; Owen's bedroom, a guest room, an office, and a dormitory room. Period furnishings and artifacts are now arranged in these rooms to help you visualize life back in the day.

Only the foundation of the root cellar remains but the wellhouse has been nicely restored. There are informational signs that lead you through time as you tour Fort Owen State Park.

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