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Although native Indians have inhabited the land for thousands of years, the written history of Kalispell, Montana begins around the end of the 19th century, when in 1891 it officially became a city.
The Flathead Valley was first explored by the people of the Canadian Hudson Bay fur trading company at the beginning of the 19th century. Over the next 70 years, the explorations reached further around the Flathead Lake, and in 1887, Demersville (a city southeast of Kalispell) was founded. A few years later, in 1891, Kalispell officially became a city. In the early 1890’s, The Great Northern Railroad decided to bypass Demersville and build a track leading to the town of Kalispell. This move by the railway company devastated Demersville, and a few years later it became a ghost town.
On New Years Day of 1892, the first railroad car rolled into Kalispell, and the town’s people had a booming celebration. The city was officially considered to be a worthwhile tourist attraction, and people slowly began flocking in. Kalispell has not looked back, and since has continued to attract tourists, businessmen, and sightseers alike.
Today, with a population of over 13,000 people, Kalispell is Northwest Montana’s largest city and the access point for many people visiting Glacier National Park.