Articles written by Upper Swan Valley Historical Society


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  • Swan Valley Historical Society Hosts the Frostbite Festival

    Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Dec 1, 2022

    The 2022 Frostbite Festival Holiday Bazaar and Bake Sale is Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Swan Valley School in Condon. The event is hosted by the Upper Swan Valley Historical Society. Artisans and crafters from the Swan Valley and Northwest Montana will display and sell their handiwork. This is a wonderful opportunity for shoppers to find unique, locally made holiday gifts. It’s a great time to get together with friends and family, meet new people, and support our local artisans. A watercolor workshop will add to the fun. A b...

  • Hope for better days ahead

    Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Jun 25, 2020

    Many unforeseen changes have unfolded in our local communities since the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services announced the state's first cases of COVID-19 on March 13. Schools, businesses and churches were closed. Working from home, social distancing, teleconferencing and distance learning became a way of life. In today's world, preventative measures to protect the masses from the coronavirus are practiced regularly including hand sanitizing, diagnostic testing and contact...

  • USVHS to hold annual meeting

    Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Oct 18, 2018

    SWAN VALLEY - The public is invited to the annual meeting of the Upper Swan Valley Historical Society at the Swan Valley Community Hall, Friday, Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. President Steve Lamar will reflect on 2018 activities, mentioning the “Oral History Review” and “Wildlife Encounters” First Friday events held earlier in the year, the Fourth of July Celebration at the Swan Valley Museum and Swan Valley Community Hall, and the “100 Years of Swan Valley Schools” event and school tours. Lamar will highlight the Hollopeter Family Tree, painted by...

  • Celebrating 100 Years of Swan Valley Schools: 1918-2018

    Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Jul 26, 2018

    SWAN VALLEY - In upper Swan Valley the first schools were built in 1918 when a group of residents petitioned the Missoula County Superintendent of Schools requesting that the district be split at the Swan-Clearwater watershed divide. The Swan River watershed retained the School District #33 while the Clearwater watershed became School District #34. Three one-room log school buildings were constructed near three tributaries of Swan River: Smith Creek, Rumble Creek and Elk Creek. To accommodate as...

  • New Beginnings

    Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Feb 22, 2018

    In 1979, Len Kobylenski purchased the Buckhorn Camp and changed the name to the Mission Mountains Mercantile. To prove that fact is stranger than fiction – the only document to survive the devastating fire two years ago was the original Buy/Sell Agreement that he had signed. It was found under a pile of charred debris that somehow survived. Kobylenski was a banker during the 1970s, and spent almost all his vacations out west. He came to Montana from upstate New York for the first time in 1...

  • New Beginnings

    Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Feb 15, 2018

    The Mission Mountains Mercantile, one of the upper Swan Valley's landmarks, was destroyed by a devastating fire nearly two years ago. Owner Len Kobylenski decided to rebuild and a new version of the iconic store has risen from the ashes. The old Merc was more than just a grocery store. It included a deli, an art gallery, a real estate office and a gas station. Visitors to the area were often amazed to find such a well-stocked store in the middle of nowhere. As a central part of the community,...

  • "The Gathering Place" Encapsulates Gordon Ranch History

    Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Jun 8, 2017

    SWAN VALLEY - The Upper Swan Valley Historical Society's recently published book, The Gathering Place: Swan Valley's Gordon Ranch, encapsulates the rich history of the upper Swan Valley. To document the impact of the area's first homestead and ranch, the USVHS publication committee researched numerous records and interviewed key people including the owners, managers, ranch hands and other employees of the ranch. Long before it became known as the Gordon Ranch, this natural prairie in the Swan Ri...

  • A 1905 Horseback Ride to the Top of the Kootenai Mountains

    Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Sep 22, 2016

    Margaret MacDonald visited her Aunt Isabelle and Uncle Dr. Robert Gordon in August 1905 at the Gordon Ranch. In a letter to her mother, Margaret eloquently described a horseback ride to a mountain pass Margaret refers to as Gordon Pass in the Kootenai Mountains, present-day Holland Pass in the Swan Mountains. The current trail, USFS trail # 42, ascends the face of the Swan Range above Holland Lake; the approximate route Margaret and her companions followed in 1905 leading to Sapphire Lakes, just over the pass. The current trail is a steep...

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