The 46-acre Missoula County Fairgrounds, home of the Western Montana Fair, site was purchased by Missoula County for $16,000 in 1913. At the time it was surrounded by farmland, and as the city has expanded south and west, the Fairgrounds now falls inside the corporate city limits surrounded by commercial, civic, educational and parks development, and bordered by two major arterials. Over a century after its initial purchase, the Fairgrounds site and Historic District is poised for reinvestment to restore the historic resources, make way for new buildings, and reinterpret the cultural landscape using 19 acres of open space and 6,000 linear feet of public trail connections to the greater urban core of Missoula. National Register listed buildings serving as exhibits and display areas during the Western Montana Fair serve as keystones for interpretation of new development while interpretation of the cultural landscape will connect visitors with the community’s agricultural heritage and urban core. The project goal is finding unique ways to tell the story of Missoula’s mountain farming history, while retaining a welcoming, user friendly open space for those who live and work nearby.
Session Speakers: Emily Bentley, Paul Filicetti, Kate Dinsmore, Jeremy Keene