Do you know the history of Whitefish, Montana?  Whitefish, also known as Stumptown, is a charming town located in the Northwestern part of Montana. Founded in 1904 as a railroad town, Whitefish quickly grew in size and importance as a transportation hub for the mining and timber industries. Thankfully, Whitefish is now known for its stunning natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and vibrant arts and culture scene. Let’s look closer at this beautiful town’s rich Whitefish history.

Early Years

The region that would later become Whitefish was originally home to the Salish and Kootenai tribes. By the late 1800s, white settlers began to arrive in the area searching for new opportunities. In 1901, the Great Northern Railway saw the potential of the area and built a depot on the site of present-day Whitefish. Further, the town was officially founded in 1904, and its name was derived from the nearby Whitefish Lake.

Boom Years

Whitefish Depot near downtown Whitefish Montana

Whitefish Depot near downtown Whitefish Montana. Glacier Bear Condo

The railroad’s arrival in Whitefish brought about rapid growth and development. Quickly, the town became a key transportation hub for the mining, logging, and agricultural industries in the region. In 1927, Whitefish Peak was named after the town. Consequently, this showed how important the city became as Whitefish history moved forward. Additionally, the construction of hydroelectric dams in the area also spurred growth. Also, it provided a reliable power source for the region’s industries. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Whitefish thrived as a bustling hub of commerce and transportation.

World War II and Beyond

Whitefish played a key role in the war effort during World War II. Workers at the town’s regional munitions plant produced ammunition and other supplies for the military. After the war, the town experienced a period of decline as the shipping industry shrank and the logging and mining industries faced difficulty. However, Whitefish managed to survive by reinventing itself as a tourist destination. Also, it capitalized on the beautiful natural scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities in the area.  Don’t forget, you’ll want to visit and learn more about the history of the Whitefish Depot.

The area became known as Stumptown due to a vast amount of timber needed for building downtown and the railroad. Tree stumps were left throughout downtown. And, that is how Whitefish became known as Stumptown.

Today, Whitefish is a thriving community with a unique blend of history, culture, and outdoor recreation.

Downtown Whitefish is full of quaint one of a kind restaurants & shops

Downtown Whitefish is full of quaint one of a kind restaurants & shops. Photo courtesy of Glacier County Tourism

Visitors can enjoy various activities, from skiing and snowboarding at Whitefish Mountain Resort to hiking and biking nearby Glacier National Park. Also, the town is also home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries, music venues, and festivals throughout the year.

In conclusion, the history of Whitefish, Montana is rich and multifaceted. From its early days as a railroad town to its role in World War II and beyond, Whitefish has demonstrated its resilience and adaptability. Today, the town is a thriving community with a strong sense of history and a bright future.

If you’d like to learn more about the Whitefish Depot history, click HERE.

But you can also visit Historic Montana’s website by clicking HERE too. You can learn more about the Whitefish Museum by visiting All Trips site to learn more too. Click HERE 

If you’re ready to book your vacation on Whitefish Mountain, click the Book Now link above.  This page may take an extra few seconds to load as it is connecting to our booking site with calendar to choose your dates.




You can visit our sister location, Glacier Bear Cabin inside Glacier National Park.  As a matter of fact, this cozy 2 bedroom, 1 bath cabin is in a perfect location in Apgar Village, around the corner from Lake McDonald.  With on-site kayaks, paddleboards, mountain and e-bikes for our cabin guests to use anytime during their stay at the cabin.  Of course, you can choose one location or both! **Yes, discounts are available if you want to stay at both properties**

Glacier Bear Cabin and Glacier Bear Condo Welcome you to Whitefish Mountain or Glacier National Park with two hotel properties for your vacation