The University of Montana Historic District
An 1881 act of Congress granted the Territory of Montana seventy-two sections of land to use in funding a university. When the Montana legislature finally created the University of Montana in 1893, the Missoula community expressed its support by refurbishing a condemned schoolhouse as an interim campus. Fifty students enrolled in the first classes in 1895. From their temporary quarters, University President Oscar Craig and Professor Frederick Scheuch designed a campus to be built on forty donated acres at the base of Mount Sentinel. With revenue from the 1881 land grant, the first campus buildings were designed by Missoula architect A. J. Gibson and constructed between 1897 and 1908. The new campus opened in 1899, housed in Main and Science Halls. After World War I, a second campus master plan by Helena architect George Carsley and his New York mentor Cass Gilbert allowed for the University's orderly expansion. Eight buildings following the Carsley-Gilbert plan enlarged the campus between 1918 and 1927. Federal grants financed five additional buildings from 1935 to 1939, forming a stylistic transition to the modern campus. While the campus now accommodates over 10,000 students, the University of Montana proudly reveals its evolution through architectural diversity, displaying Montana's changing architectural tastes and the work of its best-known designers.