Nestled in the picturesque landscape of Montana, Somers is a small but historically rich town. Situated near the beautiful Flathead Lake, this region has witnessed its fair share of significant events throughout history. From mining booms to indigenous cultures and trade routes, the area surrounding Somers has been the stage for numerous captivating historical events. Here are seven such occasions that have left an indelible mark on the region:
1. Salish Culture and Trade Routes:
Before European settlers arrived, the Salish, Pend d'Oreille, and Kootenai Native American tribes inhabited the region. These indigenous cultures developed trade routes through the rugged terrain surrounding Somers, where they traded buffalo hides, pelts, and various goods. Exploring these trade routes can give us glimpses into their rich heritage.
2. Lewis and Clark Expedition (1805):
The famous Lewis and Clark Expedition had a significant impact in the area when they passed through in 1805. The explorers embarked on their westward journey, following the Missouri River and crossing into present-day Montana. While they didn't stop in Somers specifically, the expedition's presence and exploration of the nearby landscape contributed to its historical significance.
3. Arrival of Fur Traders:
In the early 19th century, fur traders ventured into the region around Somers, setting up trading posts along the Flathead River. These traders sought beaver pelts, and their presence spurred an increase in settlement along the surrounding waterways.
4. Arrival of European Settlers:
Starting around the 1860s, European settlers began arriving in the area surrounding Somers, with prospectors and miners drawn by the abundance of precious metals. This led to the establishment of mining camps in the nearby mountains, including one in the iconic Greenhorn Mountains.
5. Railroad Expansion:
The railroad played a crucial role in the development of Somers and the surrounding region. The Great Northern Railway Company extended its tracks to the town in the early 20th century. This expansion not only facilitated the transportation of goods and people but also brought economic growth to the area.
6. Tungsten Mining Boom:
During World War I, a significant tungsten mining industry developed in the mountains near Somers. Tungsten was a key mineral used in the production of ammunition, and the demand for it skyrocketed. The sudden boom brought a surge of workers, transforming the region into a bustling mining community.
7. Dam Construction at Flathead Lake:
In the mid-20th century, the construction of Kerr Dam (now known as the Seli'Shxwqel) near Polson, just a short distance from Somers, marked a significant development in the region. Built on the Flathead River, this dam generated hydroelectric power, contributing to the growth and progress of the surrounding communities.
While these events represent just a glimpse into the rich history of Somers, they demonstrate the diverse and fascinating historical tapestry of this beautiful region. From the early indigenous cultures to the arrival of European settlers, and from mining booms to the railroad and dam construction, Somers and its surroundings continue to be shaped by their historical experiences. Exploring and delving further into these events can provide a deeper understanding of the heritage and legacy that resides in this scenic part of Montana.
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