Kalispell, Montana Territory

Historical Note

There is a modern city named Kalispell that is located near our fictional town of Kalispell.

Geography and Climate

Kalispell Region

Kalispell is located five miles north of 48°11′52″N 114°18′58″W (48.197801, −114.316068), at an altitude of 2,956 feet (901 m). It is twelve miles north of Flathead Lake, which is the largest natural freshwater lake in the continental United States west of the Mississippi River. Whitefish Trail passes through the center of town doing double duty as the road north and Main Street.

The climate is cold and semi-arid with long, very cold, and snowy winters, hot and dry summers, and short springs and autumns in between. Nights are much cooler than the daytime high temperatures. Snow usually occurs from late October thru early November to March.

The Chogun River flows from the Chogun Valley that lay to the north and west, past Kalispell and empties into the northeastern region of Flathead Lake. The river’s source is Lost Lake which lies at the northwestern most point of the valley.

History

1700s

The Seven Years War, 1756-1763, fought between the French and British over land disputes, was won by England. France gave up all French territory east of the Mississippi River, except for New Orleans. Although no longer a French territory, traders and fur trappers from Canada continued to work and settle in the area. Fort Kalispell was established in the late 1700s as a seasonal stockade protected trading post, no permanent settlement existed until the 1800s.

1800s

In 1803, the United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France. The U.S. Secretary of State, James Madison paid 15 million dollars for the land. The marked the beginning of major changes for the region. Concessions by the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Cherokee Indians started opening land to white settlers. There was more expansion into the territory following the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806.

While the American Civil War did not have a major impact on the region, the influx of white settlers and the resulting Indian Conflicts meant that people needed protection.

Until the mid-1800s, Fort Kalispell remained little more than a large settlement used as a trading post by the people brave enough to settle the region. Although there were law enforcement officers, actual law enforcement was random.

1845

St. Francis Catholic Church (and school) established at the now-thriving Fort Kalispell settlement.

1860

April: Rumors of gold found along the Chogun River bring an influx of miners, prospectors, and settlers to the area around Kalispell. Indian conflicts increase. Fort Kalispell officially established as a permanent fortified settlement.

1872

June – September: Fort Kalispell converted to a military garrison. The civilian town of Kalispell established five miles north.

In 1872, it was determined that there was a need for a military installation at the fork of the Chogun River and Flathead Lake. Unfortunately, land surveys found that building a substantial installation would be cost prohibitive. Instead, the decision was made to split the settlement from the fort and relocate it five miles to the north. This allowed for the establishment of a military installation and conversion of the facilities at minimal expense.

See Fort Kalispell, Montana Territory

1873

The town of Kalispell is officially incorporated.

1875

The current town of Kalispell is prosperous. Prospectors still flood the region looking for gold and silver. The Legend of Ishmael’s Cross periodically resurfaces which encourages even more prospecting. The majority of the town’s businesses are doing well with more are moving into the region. It helps that the only road from Flathead Lake to Whitefish and on to Canada passes through the center of Kalispell.

Law and Order

  • Town Marshal: Scott Cory
  • Deputy Marshal: Hannah Cory

Kalispell is far from being the wildest town in the wild west. It does, however, have its share of crime. Bar fights, shootings, and the occasional bank robbery are the usual fare although Kalispell attracts its share of unsavory characters. The weekly stagecoach from Missoula has been robbed more than once while carrying money and well-to-do passengers.

Traveling to Kalispell

Missoula is the nearest town of any size to Kalispell. It is between 115 to 120 miles south, depending on the route taken.

Stagecoach

It is approximately a two-day stagecoach trip from Missoula to Kalispell. There is only one relay station where the stage lays over and changes horses. The stages only run once per week.

Steamboat

One of the major methods of travel was via steamboat. However, in the Sagas universe, the fictional Chogun River is too rough for steamboat passage. A person can board a steamboat at the town of Poison which lies at the south end of Flathead Lake. There is a passenger disembarkation point on the northern shore of the lake.

Railroads

The nearest railhead is in Missoula. From there, a person has to hire a horse, carriage or wagon, or wait for the next stagecoach.

The needs of the story required that we move the timeline on the building of railroads in Montana. The below will be expanded or updated as game needs dictate. Assume these railroads are independently owned by various businessmen and not by the major railroad conglomerates of the era.

  • Eagle Rock, Idaho to Butte, Montana (freight and rough passenger car).
  • Butte, Montana to Missoula, Montana (freight and rough passenger car).
  • From Denver, Colorado to Missoula, Montana.
  • Denver to Reno to Missoula (regular passenger, freight).
  • Denver to Sacramento to Missoula (regular passenger, freight).
  • Denver to San Francisco to Missoula (regular passenger, freight).

Note: Rough passenger means there are a few basic passenger cars, but no private coaches. Freight includes livestock cars.

Businesses

Details will be added as they are developed. Some of these will change.

Kalispell Saloon

Bell-St. Regis Hotel (new, modern 5-star hotel)

Golden Nugget Gambling Salon (Will be updated when “Maddie” chooses name)

White Rose Bording House & Cafe (lower floor of boarding house)

Glacier Hotel

Kalispell General Store

Kalispell Telegraph Office

Glacier Bank

Kalispell Marshal’s Office and Jail

Kalispell Livery (located behind Kalispell Saloon)

Churches

St. Francis Catholic Church

There has been a Catholic church and school in the region for several decades. It was originally established as a Spanish mission, later it became as Jesuit monastery. Eventually, it was moved within the walls of old Fort Kalispell and established as a church and school. After Fort Kalispell was converted for military use and the town of Kalispell was established, the church was relocated as well. It is east of the town and has become a nice, peaceful retreat for anyone that wishes to visit or has need of a priest.

St. Francis also still operates a school although there is now a public school in Kalispell.

Kalispell Protestant Church

After Kalispell was established independently as a town, a common use protestant church was built within the city limits.

Maps

The maps below are provided to give a visual idea of the location of Kalispell and Lost Lake Ranch. They are not accurate to scale nor do they accurately represent the time period of Sagas of the Wild West. Before including the towns from the map in stories, please research to make sure they existed in 1875.

Gallery