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Surrounded by towering mountains, pristine lakes, and fertile valleys, Kalispell is the regional trade center for northwest Montana, a market of 150,000 people, and the Flathead County seat. Founded in 1891, Kalispell is now a bustling small city and home to much history, culture, commercial activity and outdoor recreation.

The original town site, named Demmersville in honor of Jack Demmers, was founded in 1887 along the Flathead River, southeast of present-day Kalispell. However, Demmersville soon became a ghost town when surveyors from the Great Northern Railroad arrived in the area to locate the town site for what is present-day Kalispell. It was the Great Northern Railroad that helped put Kalispell on the map and nurtured the town's economic growth. On December 31, 1891, railroad graders and track layers reached the center of Main Street. The next day, New Year's Day 1892, the first locomotive officially arrived. A big celebration was held at which time a silver spike was driven in the center tie. Citizens contributed the silver coins that were melted and molded into a spike, which was driven in by the two oldest settlers in residence in the valley. The railroad brought in businessmen, tourists and pioneers looking for a new start. Kalispell soon emerged as an industrial center as sawmills, flour mills, merchants and farmers rooted themselves in the area. Kalispell quickly established itself as the trade center for Northwest Montana, and eventually, the county seat. Though pioneers and settlers moving West helped make Kalispell the thriving hub that it is, the Native Americans have a deep rooted history that goes back much further than the arrival of the first white men. Archeological evidence shows that Native Americans inhabited Montana more than 14,000 years ago. Many of the place names used to describe the area's features today belong to the Salish, Blackfoot, Kutenai and Kalispel Tribes.

Situated 2,959 feet above sea level on the west slope of the Rocky Mountains, Kalispell and the surrounding 24 square mile Flathead Valley enjoy a relatively mild and pleasant climate year round. Four distinct seasons, each provide a new way of enjoying the area. There are very few places in the world where you can ski, swim, golf, and sail-occasionally on the same day!

Centrally located to the Flathead Valley's recreational hot spots:

  • 31 miles from Glacier National Park
  • 22 miles from Hungry Horse Dam
  • 17 miles from Whitefish and Big Mountain Ski Resort
  • 9 miles north of Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, with a length of over 27 miles and a maximum width of over 15 miles.
  • However, there is no need to go far to experience a little bit of nature. Within the 7.8 square miles are plenty of open space can be found in city parks like Woodland Park, which offers over two miles of walking trails and picnic areas lined by native trees. Many species of swans, ducks and geese take to the ponds, while humans can cool off in the community pool. In the winter the park offers ice skating and opportunities for peaceful winter strolls.

    Kalispell's economy has evolved quite a bit from the town's inception and is becoming a hotbed for more progressive industries. Several high-tech companies that have realized the valuable resources that Kalispell and the Flathead Valley can offer. Technology, medicine, manufacturing, banking, timber, retail, construction and service industries are well represented and thriving. In addition to Kalispell, Flathead County Montana is home to Big Fork, Columbia Falls, Lakeside, Somers, and Whitefish, Montana.

    For more information on Flathead County, Kalispell, and other surrounding cities, please visit the informative websites below:

    Flathead County Schools