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Western Heritage Days celebrates Montana's oldest town - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Western Heritage Days celebrates Montana's oldest town

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The history of the area is something locals continue to celebrate. (MTN News) The history of the area is something locals continue to celebrate. (MTN News)
STEVENSVILLE -

The oldest settlement in the state of Montana celebrated their history by bringing the community together for Western Heritage Days in Stevensville.

The history of the Stevensville area began with the arrival of 24 Iroquois Indians employed as trappers by the Hudson's Bay Company.

More than 20 years later, on September 24, 1841, Father Pierre Jean De Smet arrived in the Bitterroot Valley with belongings and supplies in three carts and a wagon, the first vehicles to enter the area.

He, along with others, established the first white settlement on the east bank of the Bitterroot River, immediately west of the present town of Stevensville.

The history of the area is something locals continue to celebrate.

“Western Heritage Days are designed or used to enhance and to advertise the culture of the small town of Stevensville, small town Montana. We have the Salish cultural event that goes on down here. We have Saint Mary's Mission...and it is the first town in Montana. The oldest community in Montana is Stevensville Montana," said parade announcer Bill McNulty.

Parents, kids, and even pets gathered Saturday for the annual parade.

With younger kids taking part in Western Heritage Days, one local said it will keep the history alive.  

“We can share the legacy of our history. Every town has history, so it is important to pass that on to our younger generation and that they appreciate where they’ve grown up," said Colleen Meyer with the historic St. Mary's Mission.

"They may leave home as they get older, but hopefully they’ll always appreciate the roots that they came from and the people long long ago that established our towns," said Meyer.

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