Stevensville is a small town, even by Montana standards, but it enjoys distinctions on the history and development of the state all out if proportion to its size. It is the oldest town in the state and may honestly claim other important "firsts". St. Mary's Mission was established in 1841 - the first church and also the first school in the Northwest. With the Mission came agriculture; Stevensville grew the first grain, ground the first flour, sawed the first lumber, had the oldest planted fruit tree (still bearing apples in 1970) and practiced the first irrigation in Montana. John Owen established his trading post, Fort Owen, in 1855. His water right, filed in 1852, is Montana's oldest, and at Fort Owen in the winter of 1858 the second school in the state was held.
Then, as Missoula grew in size and importance, Stevensville declined; and although it was briefly the Ravalli County seat it was superseded by Hamilton. But Stevensville is not and never has been a dying town. It remains and continues to be a vibrant and healthy residential and business friendly community.Today, most of the residents of Stevensville work for nearby industries.
The town’s charm has remained unchanged. Stevensville sees itself as a typical small town where neighbors greet each other and take care of each other. We are proud of living in such a strong and vibrant community.
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