Old Missoula

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Sec A Page 2 Missoulian Centennial Streets Bear Names of Early Families

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Streets Bear Names of Early Families

South avenue in Missoula dates back to the early 1870’s or possibly to the late 1860’s. South avenue and several others have carried the traffic of 100 years.

As one of the earliest roads and trails, South avenue has seen the construction of Missoula’s early homes on her borders. When the city was founded, South avenue was a track on the section line. Even today the western end terminates against a section fence line. A small area between the road and the fence is still a trail.

The distance the avenue occupies is about five and a half miles. The avenue intersects Higgins avenue which is the dividing line for east-west streets.

The avenue witnessed the coming of homesteaders Tom Foley, Maj. Michael McCauley and two other Irishmen named Booth and Kelly. It saw Ft. Missoula soldiers fire at Target Hill. It carried those who went to the fairgrounds which was adjacent to South avenue.

Higgins began his farm in the South avenue area and it is believed that Pattee lived in the near vicinity. Washington J. McCormick was probably the first land owner in the area to the east of South avenue.

Other Missoula thoroughfares bring to mind the early days and those who made the early history of the city. Higgins avenue, another long avenue within city limits, was named for Capt. Christopher P. Higgins, one of the founders of Missoula.

Evans avenue, named for John M. Evans, recalls the memory of the congressman, mayor of the city and Missoula police judge. Beverly and Hastings were named for Evans’ children. Street signs also bear the name of Higgins’ children in the order of age. These streets are Francis, Maurice, Arthur, Helen, Hilda, Ronald and Gerald avenue. At one time avenues were named for John and George Higgins.

Stephens avenue is named for William J. Stephens, who with Walter M. Bickford, sponsored the South Missoula Addition, once an isolated road between Missoula and Fort Missoula.

Woody street was named for Frank H. Woody, who clerked in the Frank L. Worden store at Hell Gate and became an editor, historian, and district judge in Missoula later.

One of the main streets on the North Side, Urlin avenue, is named for A. J. Urlin, old-time city official. McWhirk street was named after the builder of one of the first brick homes in Missoula. Front street, the street on which McWhirk lived, is the site of the old Mullan Road.

Daly avenue derives its name from the Butte Copper King, Marcus Daly. Harris street honored a clerk in the old Higgins-Worden store. George F. Brooks named Brooks street, Stevens street was named either for William Stevens who built the first bridge or for Isaac I. Stevens, governor of the Washington Territory. Blaine street was named for the Saron Blaine family which had the first house south of the Clark Fork River. Bank street derives its name from the First National Bank.

Cedar street (Broadway) was paved in cedar blocks which posed a problem on rainy days. The cedar would swell with the moisture making a hump. Frequently the cedar hump would explode and horses and buggies would rush to avoid the flying wood.

The Higgins Avenue Bridge deck also was made of cedar blocks, but these gave way to the present asphalt surface.

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 November 2016 21:13