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area history WHITEFISH Montana

It is said that in the mid 1850's trappers working the area found Natives catching fish (Whitefish) from the lake, thus the name Whitefish.

The first permanent inhabitant was John Morton, who built a cabin in the early 1880's on the shore of the lake. He was joined by loggers, in the early 1890's with the intent of floating logs down Whitefish River to Kalispell.

In 1901, it was announced that the Great Northern Railway would build through what is now Whitefish on its way to the Tobacco Plains (Eureka) and southern B.C. Canada. The task of clearing for a new town site was started; leaving many stumps behind and the nickname "Stumptown" was born. The stumps made traffic difficult, as wagons and their axles conflicted with these obstacles and they had to be removed. The Great Northern Railway officially arrived in Whitefish in 1904. Railroad workers, trappers and more loggers soon followed and Whitefish grew rather rapidly for a while.

Over the next 60 years as the natural resource markets ebbed, the economy became somewhat stagnant and the introduction of recreational pursuits took the lead, with golf and skiing putting Whitefish, Montana back on the map, as one of Montana's premier vacation getaways. Today Whitefish has developed into one of North America's premier resort communities.


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