National Geographic Map Guide Destination

The Gathering Place: Swan Valley’s Gordon Ranch

Travelers can take a self-guided tour of the Swan Valley Museum, Swan River Tavern, Whalen Homestead Cabin, Smith Creek School replica and the portable sawmill on the Swan Valley museum grounds by downloading a free Next Exit HistoryTM app to access photos, audio, video and written descriptions. The self-guided tour is funded by a Preserve Missoula County History grant from the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula.

Items below are available for purchase! See our Projects page for details.

The Huck Book: Swan Valley's Berried Stories, History and Recipes

Swan Valley Museum hours:

FRIDAY, SATURDAY, and SUNDAY - 12 Noon to 4 PM or by appointment. Call (406) 754-2745 or (406) 754-2238 or Contact Us

Great News! We will again participate in the Seeley Lake Community Foundation’s "Change Your Pace Challenge." It is a real difference maker because it allows donors to increase the value of their donations! To participate, please make a donation by August 3, 2018 to the Seeley Lake Community Foundation on behalf of the Upper Swan Valley Historical Society. You contribution will be matched, up to 100%.

Mary Lou Krause Willhelm.
​Marion Holmes Collection.

Russ Haasch with tame fawn at Laird's Lodge, August 1928.
​Haasch-Neyman Collection.

The Upper Swan Valley Historical Society (USVHS), established in 1988, is dedicated to the discovery, collection, preservation and interpretation of materials that will help establish and illustrate our local history.


The upper Swan Valley area is unique in that it still retains a plethora of evidence of its varied history. There still exist old Indian trails crisscrossing our mountains. Old trapper cabins and marten notched trees are still around on the landscape. This area was homesteaded and settled at a relatively late date, primarily from the mid-1910's and later, with many artifacts and buildings of that particular era still in existence. Early Forest Service ranger station buildings and cabins are still here. Springboard notched trees and sawmill sites from the early logging days are scattered around the valley.

Photo of Swan Peak by Steve Ellis

Preserving and Promoting the Cultural Heritage of the Swan Valley.


Upper Swan Valley Historical Society

1959 Swan Valley School graduates. L to R: Robert Van Gieson; Nettie Lanegan; Robert Woodhouse; Karen Wilhelm; Donald Wilson. Van Gieson Collection.

Change Your Pace Challenge

Next Exit History

Wranglers, Dudes and Homesteaders: Stories from Montana's Swan Valley Lodges
Lindbergh Lake Lodge, Holland Lake Lodge and Gordon Ranch
30 minutes

Selish-Ql'ispe Place Names Map

Alice Brunson taking photo of Jacquelyn Maloney at Smith Flats School, 1932. Brunson Collection.

The Selish-Ql'ispe Culture Committee provided a Swan Valley Place Names Map for display in the Swan Valley Museum. The map features the Pend d'Oreille Indian names of the landmarks, as well as photos and descriptions of this region. Highlights from the dedication ceremony →

Joe Lawrence Bull Trout. Early 1940s, Spring Creek. Lawrence Collection.

Snow White puppet show at Smith Flats School, 1932.
​Brunson Collection.