Kalispell was founded in 1891 and is the northern gateway to the Flathead Valley. The name means "prairie above the lake" in the Pend Orielle language. The town is located 32 miles from West Glacier and eight miles north of Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River.
The lake is twenty-eight miles long and fifteen miles wide at its widest point, boasting 185 miles of shoreline. This town of 13,000 people is located within a bustling tourist region, with supplemental lumber and fruit-growing industries. This region is especially known for its Flathead cherries.
The area’s founding father, Charles Conrad, made a fortune as a Missouri River trader after his family lost its Virginia plantation during the Civil War. In 1895, he built a new estate now known as the Conrad Mansion which boasts three stories and 26 rooms set on three acres of gardens. Kalispell’s art museum, the Hockaday Center for the Arts is time-worthy, displaying the works of regional and national artists in three galleries, along with a permanent collection of Western art.