Economy of Missoula

Missoula began as a trading post in the 1860s situated along the Mullan Military Road to take advantage of the first route across the Bitterroot Mountains to the plains of Eastern Washington. Its designation as county seat in 1866 and location of the hastily built Fort Missoula in 1877 ensured Missoula's status as a regional commercial center; a status further consolidated in 1883 with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway. The railroad expanded Missoula's trade area to cover a 150-mile radius, and Missoula's location as the railway's division point and repair shops provided hundreds of jobs. When the railway