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Area History

The first men to live in the area now know as Glacier National Park were the Indians, in fact we now have record that people inhabited the area as many as ten thousand years ago. A little more recently, Native Americans thrived in the area for generations, secluded from western civilization and culture. Then the Lewis and Clark expedition blazed a trail across the United States, a trail that led straight through the state of Montana. White colonization of the area soon followed and by the late nineteenth century, the land was no longer in the hands of the Indians.

It wasn’t until the coming of the Great Northern Railway that tales of Glacier’s natural splendor reached the east. The company began to tell tales of the location, eventually lobbying congress to designate the area as a forest preserve in 1900. Ten years later, a bill was signed by then president William H. Taft changing Glacier from a forest preserve to a national park.

The original concept for Glacier was modeled after the Alps region in Switzerland. During the it’s first decade of existence, the Great Northern Railway built hotels and Chalets (wooden buildings commonly found in the Swiss Alps) to boost tourism in the area, and it worked. The next twenty years were fruitful, and as more and more people came to visit (especially in the automobile, new for the times), it came time for the construction of Glacier’s greatest wonder, the Going-To-The-Sun Road.

The Going-To-The-Sun road was a 53-mile stretch carved along the side of the mountains. It weaves and winds along the mountain ranges offering its riders the premier visuals. The road has gone on to be recognized as on of engineering’s greatest achievements.

Since then Glacier National Park has become a landmark of America. It’s become one of its most popular and famous national parks, and offer its visitors a first hand look at a true natural wonder.