This park was the site of many "firsts" in Montana history. It was home to Montana's first Catholic church founded by Father DeSmet in 1841 and the state's first permanent white settlement. Also located here were the first sawmill, first grist mill, first agricultual development, first water right, and the first school for settlers. Major John Owen arrived in the Bitterroot Valley in 1850 and established the fort and began trading with the Indians and growing number of immigrants. Period furnishings and artifacts are displayed in the restored rooms of the east barracks. Take your time to browse through a small museum housed in preserved and partially-reconstructed structures. This site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Interpretive signs and exhibits detail the site's history.

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