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See Where History Happened

The Montana Preservation Alliance (MPA) in partnership with the USDA Forest Service Region 1 is excited to announce the next Montana Preservation Road Show, an historic preservation conference to be held June 13-16 at Cedar Creek Lodge in Columbia Falls and around the Flathead/Glacier region. The Road Show launches from a different small town every other year with the mission to immerse participants in the history and culture of rural Montana, spotlight great local preservation efforts, and raise awareness of the importance of preserving Montana’s historic buildings and cultural landscapes.

 Polebridge Mercantile on the North Fork Tour

Polebridge Mercantile on the North Fork Tour

 Hungry Horse Dam & Power House on the Post World War II tour.

Hungry Horse Dam & Power House on the Post World War II tour.

 Conrad Cemetery, Kalispell on the High-Style Architecture Tour

Conrad Cemetery, Kalispell on the High-Style Architecture Tour

 Columbia Falls Soldier's Home on the Columbia Falls History Tour

Columbia Falls Soldier's Home on the Columbia Falls History Tour

In the Flathead, that means taking the path less traveled to see barns and homesteads, tribal landscapes, industrial buildings, ranger stations, depots, hotels, and more. Along the way, veteran preservationists, local historians, tribal experts, archaeologists, teachers and professors all join in to provide a well-rounded portrait of the historic places that define the Flathead area and her people.

Book Hotel Early and Register!

Hotels near Glacier National Park fill up fast!!

Road Show conference headquarters will be at the Cedar Creek Lodge in Columbia Falls with block room rates starting at $179/night until April 14. Call 406-897-7070 to book.

Room blocks are also reserved until May 13 at Belton Chalet in West Glacier (starting at $140/night); Glacier Highland Motel in West Glacier (starting at $105/night until); and the West Glacier Motel (starting at $99/night).

After you book your hotel, read the agenda, choose which tours to take, and register early for the conference. Rates go up $25 on April 14. Don't want to register online? Register the historic way -- call Christine Brown at 406-457-2822. 

Tour Highlights 

  • Explore the history of the North Fork Road on a trip to Big Creek Work Center, Polebridge, and other North Fork landmarks with local historians and the Flathead National Forest archaeologist.
  • Head east to Browning and the Two Medicine area to learn Blackfeet history and culture with tribal historians John Murray and Maria Zedeno.
  • See the Flathead through the eyes of the merchants and magnates responsible for high-style landmarks like Belton Chalet, Lake McDonald Lodge, the Conrad Mansion and Cemetery and more, with historian Ellen Baumler and architect, Jim McDonald.
  • Discover post-World War II industrial architecture at Hungry Horse Dam with Bureau of Reclamation specialists and architectural historian Charlene Roise, and at the ruins of the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company plant with local experts.
  • Can't make the whole conference? Choose a Saturday tour to learn about Salish-Kootenai history and culture; Spotted Bear Ranger District history; or Lower Valley historic barns.

Workshop & Talk Highlights

  • Montana’s Small Towns: Then, Now, and Tomorrow with Hal Stearns
  • Preserving historic wood windows -- all day with Forest Service and preservation specialists
  • Historic Preservation Funding short course with the Montana History Foundation
  • Exploring Ice Patch Archaeology with archaeologist, Craig Lee
  • Preserving Montana’s Majestic Fire Lookout Towers with Chuck Manning
  • Interpreting the literary legacy of Flathead writers and authors

You don’t have to be an historian or professional preservationist to join this conference – just an enthusiastic traveler, listener, and lover of history. The hardest part of the Road Show is choosing from several concurrent tour and/or talk options during the four days. “The Flathead has such a wealth of architecture, history, and cultural sites to learn about, we’ve really had a hard time narrowing down all the choices to fit into four days,” says Brown. “It will be a tough decision for a lot of folks to choose which all-day and half-day tours they want to take.” For those who can’t attend the full conference, tours on Saturday offer a one-day registration fee.

Online registration for the conference will open on February 5. Early registration is $200 for members or $225 for non-members and includes a reception on June 13; all-day tour, lunch, and evening presentation on June 14; and talks, lunch, and half-day tour on June 15. Tours on June 16 are optional and cost $50 to $100 each. Rates increase by $25 on April 14.

Our Partners

MPA is proud to announce that the Road Show is supported for the next three years by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Since 2012, our award-winning conference has blazed new pathways with the USDA Forest Service Region 1, Bureau of Land Management, State Historic Preservation Office, Humanities Montana, local museums, and history lovers to offer a traveling preservation conference that transports participants to lesser known, rural historic sites, many of which have been saved through National Historic Preservation Act activities.

To become a Road Show sponsor, please email