What Is Fort Connah? The Story Behind Montana’s Oldest Building
Tucked away six miles north of St. Ignatius is Fort Connah, and the oldest standing building in the state of Montana.
History of Fort Connah
According to Mission Valley Museums, Fort Connah was finished in 1847 for the Hudson's Bay Company.
The fort consisted of many small buildings, a corral and a bastion. Trade was mainly furs.
After the northern boundary of the United States was established, the fort was ordered closed. There was bad blood between Hudson's Bay Company and America.
How Fort Connah Got Its Name
Angus MacDonald took charge of the fort in 1847. He named the fort Fort Connan, after a river valley in Scotland. A native American, Francis Finley, had such a hard time saying the name, that eventually, they landed on calling it Fort Connah. Angus and his wife are buried in a cemetery in the Fort Connah area to this day.
Preserving This Historical Site
The Fort Connah Restoration Society was started in 1975 with the goal to refurbish the sight back to the mid-1850 period.
The main building is still standing, and a point of architectural interest as it is a Red-River Frame construction.
In 2006, the society was given three trapper cabins from the 1860's-1870's by Rose Bailey. Two of the buildings have been restored and refurbished to replicate the original buildings that were there. The third building is being used to display a trappers cabin from the same era. The eventual goal is an interpretive center at the site.
If you'd like to help out, click this link. And keep your eyes open for the Fort Connah Rendezvous. It's an annual fundraising history celebration at the fort.