Fort Owen State Monument

The east barracks is all that remains of the original Fort Owen. Adobe bricks forming the other three sides of the enclosure have melted back into the earth.
Built in 1841 as the Catholic mission of St. Mary's, the buildings were sold in 1850 to John Owen who enlarged his fort to the size you see outlined today. Never an actual military post, the fort served as a trading post and as protection from marauding Blackfeet. Owen acted as Flathead agent for six years, and then suffered a mental breakdown in 1871. Fort Owen was auctioned at a sheriff's sale and began to deteriorate. With more people settling in the valley, the need for a fort had passed. Or almost passed.
By the time the Nez Perce camped with the Flatheads near here on July 29, 1877, some of the families of Stevensville and vicinity had already been cooped up inside Fort Owen for almost three weeks. Its walls protected 243 women and children and the fifteen men guarding them. Quite a crowd.



The Nez Perce Flight to Canada - An Introduction

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