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The Unofficial (and Utterly Unreliable) History of Missoula: A Tale of Bears, Berries, and Bizarre Happenings

Ah, Missoula. Nestled in the heart of Montana like a well-loved teddy bear in a sea of flannel shirts, this quirky town has a history as colorful as its autumn foliage and as wild as its resident grizzly bears (okay, maybe not that wild, but close enough). Join me on a journey through time as we explore the fascinating (and completely made-up) history of Missoula.

Chapter 1: The Great Bear Migration (Probably)

Legend has it that Missoula was founded when a band of intrepid grizzly bears decided they needed a break from the rugged wilderness and stumbled upon the lush valleys and sparkling rivers of what is now Missoula. Tired of salmon and pine cones, they decided to try their paws at farming and founded the first bear-run berry farm in the region. And thus, the tradition of Bear Berry Pie was born, much to the delight of humans and bears alike.

Chapter 2: The Great Pie Rebellion of 1889

Speaking of pies, Missoula has a storied past when it comes to baked goods. In 1889, tensions reached a boiling point when the townsfolk discovered that the local pie shop had been secretly substituting huckleberries with inferior blueberries in their famous pies. Outraged and feeling betrayed by the fruit fraudsters, the citizens of Missoula took to the streets in protest, armed with rolling pins and righteous indignation. The Great Pie Rebellion lasted for three days and ended with a compromise: huckleberries for all, and blueberries banished to the hinterlands forever.

Chapter 3: The Great Moose Rodeo Disaster of 1923

In the roaring '20s, Missoula was known far and wide for its annual Moose Rodeo, where brave souls would attempt to ride the notoriously ornery moose that roamed the surrounding forests. It was all fun and games until 1923, when a particularly feisty moose named Mildred decided she'd had enough of being treated like a bucking bronco. In a spectacular display of moose rebellion, Mildred broke free from her pen and led a stampede through the streets of downtown Missoula, causing chaos, mayhem, and a record number of spilled cups of root beer.

Chapter 4: The Great Sasquatch Sighting (And subsequent Sasquatch Festival)

No history of Missoula would be complete without mention of the infamous Sasquatch sightings that have plagued (or delighted, depending on who you ask) the town for centuries. In 1957, a group of lumberjacks claimed to have spotted the elusive creature lurking in the woods outside of Missoula. Rather than panic, the good folks of Missoula did what any self-respecting town would do: they threw a festival. And thus, the annual Sasquatch Fest was born, complete with Bigfoot-themed parades, Sasquatch-shaped cookies, and wildly speculative theories about the true identity of the hairy beast.

Chapter 5: The Great Flood of 1997 (Okay, This One's Actually True)

In all seriousness, Missoula has weathered its fair share of real-life challenges, including the devastating flood of 1997, which brought the town to its knees and tested the resilience of its residents. But true to form, the people of Missoula came together in the face of adversity, proving that even in the darkest of times, there's always a glimmer of hope (and maybe a slice of Huckleberry Pie) to light the way.

And there you have it, folks: the completely unofficial, utterly unreliable history of Missoula. From bears to berries to bizarre happenings, this town has seen it all—and then some. So the next time you find yourself wandering the streets of Missoula, take a moment to appreciate the rich tapestry of tall tales and twisted truths that make this town unlike any other. And if you happen to spot a Sasquatch or two along the way, just remember: stranger things have happened in Missoula.

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