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100 Icons

You see them, or a photograph of them, and no matter where you are at that moment, you say: “Missoula.”

The big block-letter “M” on Mount Sentinel.

The Stoverud’s clock, downtown on Higgins Avenue.

The four big metal XXXX’s at Circle Square, a nod of the cap to Missoula’s many eccentricities – and its railroading past.

Main Hall and the Missoula County Courthouse and the Florence Building, our built environment. Mounts Sentinel and Jumbo, Lolo Peak, the Clark Fork River – our natural habitat.

Missoula’s icons are a rich and fanciful collection that tell the story of our people and their purposes in this relatively remote corner of the planet. They are what make us uniquely, and proudly, “Missoula.”

This summer, the Missoulian will celebrate 100 Missoula icons as part of our coverage of several important junctures in our city and state’s history. This year is the 150th anniversary of the designation of Montana Territory by the U.S. Congress. Next year, Missoula will celebrate its 150th – with that commemoration including a few events this year, then picking up steam in 2015.

Beginning today, we’ll feature one icon per day, in words and photographs, through mid-September. We’ve picked the starter list, but want our readers to fill it out with their own nominations.

What do you think are Missoula’s essential icons? A historic document or place? A building or an artifact? An animal or a plant? Send your nominations by email to; or add them to our posts on Missoulian Newspaper Facebook, or to our online stories about the icons; or write editor Sherry Devlin at P.O. Box 8029, Missoula, MT 59807.

Then join us for the ride as we celebrate all things Missoula this summer of 2014 – with daily newspaper features, an online photo gallery, an interactive photo matching game, on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, and in a video tour of iconic Missoula.

We begin on the slopes of Mount Sentinel, feet planted on concrete.

Editor Sherry Devlin can be reached at 523-5250 or at

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