Date of Award

Spring 1936

Document Type



Languages & Literature


An investigation into the origin of place names in Powell, Granite, Deer Lodge, Missoula, and Ravalli counties of Montana is likely to be regarded by most people as an interesting by not particularly valuable pursuit. It is true that no might cities have arisen there, no great wars have been fought there, no new literature, architecture, music, no art has developed there. The value of the study of place names in Montana to the student of history would not be comparable to the value of such a study in a country of the Old World if the past alone be considered. But often the past can be understood only in the light of the present and future, and that is why historians as well as philologists and etymologists are intensely interested in actually watching the development of place names. By this method alone can they recover some of the concrete circumstances which have been lost in countries with an older history.

Although the locality of the present investigation was chosen quite arbitrarily, nevertheless the five counties are not without certain features in common. All are contingent; all of the streams are tributaries of one large river -- the Clark Fork of the Columbia. A glance at the map will reveal that all five counties have wide valleys which converge like the spokes of a great wheel with its hub in the vicinity of Missoula.