A community rich in Montana history
Welcome to the Oldest Town in Montana
Just imagine what it must have been like more than 180 years ago when the community of Stevensville sprouted from a small church built by Jesuit missionaries working with the Bitterroot Salish Tribe.
Everything that happened at that time was a first in the area, and those who settled around what’s now Stevensville, MT became part of the original history of the state.
It would take almost 40 years for the town of Stevensville to become platted, and another 20 years for Marcus Daly to arrive in the Bitterroot Valley.
And all that was by the year 1887.
Stevensville continues to grow after all these years, but has managed to hold onto its historical small town charm.
People are friendly, the views are exceptional, and there’s history everywhere you look.
Stevensville, MT Location
The town of Stevensville is located in Ravalli County, Montana.
The community is located in the northern half of the Bitterroot Valley, midway between Hamilton and Missoula.
US 93 connects Stevensville to Hamilton, and Stevensville to Missoula.
The Eastside Highway connects Stevensville to Florence, and Stevensville to Corvallis.
According to Wikipedia, the population of Stevensville was 2,002 in the 2020 Census.
This total includes residents living within the 1.31 square mile area of Stevensville town.
Our Bitterroot Valley population article reports 11,305 residents living in the Stevensville community.
This total includes everyone living within the 59870 Zip Code that serves Stevensville residents.
Local Services in Stevensville
The Town of Stevensville provides a wide variety of municipal services and public works.
Stevensville Public Schools enrolls just over 1,000 students per year in grades K-12. Their team name is the “Yellowjackets”.
Lone Rock School District enrolls around 175 students per year in grades K-8. Their team name is the “Rockets”.
Stevensville Rural Fire District and the Town of Stevensville provides fire and EMS services.
Law enforcement is provided by the Town of Stevensville Police Department and the Ravalli County Sheriff’s office.
The Stevensville Municipal Airport is a fast growing general aviation airport just outside of town.
The North Valley Public Library has been open to the public since 1904.
Several businesses, including retail, banking, health care, restaurants, gas and groceries are located in the Stevensville community.
Stevensville, MT Timeline
Lewis and Clark traveled through the area on their epic journey in 1805 and 1806.
The Bitterroot Salish sent representatives to St. Louis requesting ‘Black Robes’ in 1831, 1835 and 1837, but no missionaries were sent.
Bitterroot Salish representatives met Friar DeSmet in 1839 and were promised missionaries would be sent.
Fr DeSmet arrived with a group of Jesuit missionaries in 1841 and established the St. Mary’s Mission, the first permanent white settlement in what’s now Montana.
The multi-talented Father Anthony Ravalli arrived at the St. Mary’s Mission in 1845. He was Montana’s first physician, surgeon and pharmacist, and was a skilled architect, artist and engineer.
Raids by Blackfeet Indians forced St. Mary’s Mission to close in 1850.
Major John Owens arrived in 1850 and established Fort Owen on the grounds of the St Mary’s Mission he purchased from the Jesuits. Fort Owen operated as a trading post for more than 20 years.
John Winslett and J.K. Houk constructed a store south of Fort Owen in 1863, which grew into a small community called St. Mary’s Village.
The community name was changed from St. Mary’s to Stevensville in 1864, in honor of territorial Governor of Washington, Isaac Stevens.
The St. Mary’s Mission was rebuilt in 1866 a mile south of its original location.
The town of Stevensville was platted in 1879.
Ravalli County was established in 1893 and Stevensville became the County Seat.
Stevensville lost the Ravalli County seat to Hamilton in an 1898 election.
Points of Interest in Stevensville
Fort Owen State Park marks the first permanent white settlement in what became the state of Montana.
Over 100 species of birds nest annually at the 2,800 acre Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge.
St. Mary’s Mission & Museum lets visitors look back to the earliest days of settlers in the Bitterroot Valley.
The Stevensville Historical Museum houses exhibits of the history of Stevensville, MT.
That’s a Good Question
2,002 residents live in the town of Stevensville. An estimated 11,305 residents live in the 59870 zip code.