Fort Owen (1850-18??) – The fort is situated on the site of the first permanent white settlement in Montana. In 1841, Father Pierre DeSmet came to the area and established St. Mary’s Mission among the Flathead Indians. In 1850, Major John Owen, an Indian trader, purchased St. Mary’s Mission, establishing a regional trade center. He later acted as Indian agent. The fort, built of adobe and logs, also supported an extensive farming operation, sawmill, and gristmill. Today, the site is a Montana State Park located in Stevensville, Montana. The park, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, features the original 1841 restored chapel, a cabin that now serves as a museum, barracks, and several other buildings on the one-acre site. The park is 25 miles south of Missoula on U.S. 93 to Stevensville Junction, then .5 miles east on Secondary 269.
Fort Owen State Park
3201 Spurgin Road
Missoula, Montana 59804
By Kathy Weiser-Alexander, updated January 2018.