Stevensville, Montana, has been officially recognized as the first non-Indian permanent settlement in the state. It began as a Christian mission established by the Catholic Jesuits in 1841. The area was the homeland of the Bitterroot Salish Indians who were removed from the area by the United States Army in 1891.
In 1850, the Jesuits closed St. Mary’s Mission and sold the property a local trader, Major John Owens, who turned it into Fort Owen which served as a trading post for the Bitterroot Valley. In 1866, the Jesuits returned to restore the St. Mary’s Mission. In 1855, Washington Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens imposed a treaty on the tribes in the area in which the United States intended to establish a single reservation for many different tribes. In honor of Isaac Stevens, the community of St. Mary changed its name to Stevensville in 1864.
Today Stevensville has a population of about 2,000 and a small, volunteer-run historical museum. Like many small historical museums, it contains a collection of artifacts relating to the local history and provides little explanation of the artifacts themselves. Shown below are some of the kitchen displays in the Stevensville Historical Museum.
More museum exhibit photo tours
Museums 101: Stevensville Historical Museum (photo diary)
Museums 101: The Butterfield Cottage (Photo Diary)
Campbell House: The kitchen (photo diary)
Museums 101: Life in the Past (Photo Diary)
Museums 101: The Presby House Kitchen (Photo Diary)
Museums 101: The Hulda Klager Farmhouse (Photo Diary)
Riverside Heritage House: The Kitchen and Laundry (Photo Diary)
Lake Chelan Historical Society: Homestead Cabin (photo diary)