Photo courtesy: Gallatin Gateway
Little Bear School House
Photo courtesy: Mona Paulas
Gallatin Gateway is twelve miles southwest of Bozeman on the Gallatin River. Zachariah Sales, a lumberman from Wisconsin came over the Bozeman Trail by wagon train in 1865 and settled with his family near the entrance of Gallatin Canyon. Sales soon established a sawmill here and as more families arrived in the Gallatin Valley, a small community grew up around Sales's sawmill. Locals called the settlement Slabtown, for the sawmill, but in 1883 changed the name to Salesville, for its owner. In 1928, locals permanently changed the name to Gallatin Gateway, a year after the Milwaukee Road built the elegant Gallatin Gateway Inn to accommodate visitors traveling to and from Yellowstone National Park. (Copyright 2009, Montana Historical Society: Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman, Montana Historical Society Research Center Staff)
Gallatin Gateway Inn, fully restored to its original 1920s splendor, is among the finest historic inns in the Rocky Mountain West. Designed as the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad's most elegant hotel, its palatial structure features arched windows, Spanish-style corbels, and carved beams. The original railroad clock still keeps accurate time in the lobby.
Another attraction to visit while in Gallatin Gateway is the Little Bear School House Museum which takes you back in time to 1912 and replicates what a one-room school would like at the time. Complete with old school desks with ink wells and writing slates, a teacher's desk.
Located in the Gallatin National Forest near Gallatin Gateway, visitors can enjoy Spire Rock Campground and Spanish Creek Picnic Area. From the Spanish Creek parking area there are many options for ski routes into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. Also near Gallatin Gateway, Kirk Wildlife Refuge offers fishing on the Gallatin River.
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