April 20, 2017

EXTRA! Montana Newspaper Stories 1864-1922: The Mullan Road

Before the extension of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1883, it was difficult to get people and goods from one side of Montana Territory to the other. The Mullan Road was a U.S. Army project built to move troops to the Indian wars. Named for Lieutenant John Mullan, it was the first wagon road to extend from the Missouri River over the Rocky Mountains, through Northern Idaho and beyond. The road became a vital transportation link, and parts of it were incorporated into major roadways that are still in use.


Key dates

1859—The U.S. War Department appropriates funds for construction of a military road between Washington Territory and the Missouri River.
1862—The Mullan Military Road is completed.
1880—Improvements are made on sections of the old Mullan Road.
1893—The completion of the Great Northern Railroad through Montana decreases demand for an overland wagon route.


From the newspapers


To find more

Search for the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases: mullan, mullan road, western slope

Written by Catherine W. Ockey

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