Geographic Names

Schafer Meadows & Schafer Creek are named for William Schafer, a trapper. His headquarters cabin was at Schafer Meadow. He was found dead in his cabin in 1908. Circumstances indicated he had been robbed. He was buried on Morrison Creek near the mouth of Lodgepole Creek.

Calbick Creek is named for Allen Calbick, early Ranger who still lives in Kalispell.

Flathead is a misnomer for the Indians of this area. The true Flathead Indians were west of here. They flattened the heads of their babies with a board and were known as the Flatheads.

Grimsley Creek & Grimsley Park are named for "Chick" Grimsley, early-day trapper and guide. Grimsley came from Texas with a trail herd as a boy and located near the Blackfoot Indian Agency. He came into the Middle Fork in 1896. The last time I saw him, in 1942, I asked, "How are you, anyway, Chick?" He said, "I was born 75 years ago without hair, teeth, or money, and I am still holding my own."

Clack Creek is named for Jack Clack, early Assistant Supervisor of the Flathead. Retired, he now lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dean Ridge, Dean Creek, & Dean Lake are named for Richard Dean, early Ranger in the area (1913-1914).

Big Bill Creek & Mountain are named for a trail foreman of 1914.

Hart Creek & Hart Basin are named for Evert Hart, Forest employee who built the Limestone and Black Bear cabins in 1925.

Wall Creek is named for Chet Wall, Forest employee. Wall later made his home in Kalispell.

Baptiste Creek & Mountain are named for Felix Baptiste; some knew him as Baptiste Zeroyal. He was an early-day trapper and was instrumental in naming Spotted Bear. He is buried near his cabin on Hoke Creek. Felix Creek is also named for Baptiste.

Aeneas Creek & Mountain are named for a Flathead Indian chief. Mount Cameahwait is named for a Nezperce Indian chief, Sacajawea's father.

Hoke Creek is named for Ranger Ellis B. Hoke.

Bruce Creek is named for Flathead National Forest Supervisor Bruce (1914-1915). When Donald Bruce was married, a large branch of this creek was named Addition Creek. When the Bruce's first child was born, a large fork of Addition Creek was named Little Creek.

Bunker Creek is named for Supervisor Page S. Bunker (1905-1913).

Holbrook Creek & Mountain are named for Ranger Fred Holbrook. A Mormon, Holbrook was raised by Brigham Young's favorite wife, Amelia.

Gordon Creek & Doctor Creek are named for Dr. Gordon, of Butte, who established the Gordon Ranch near Holland Lake.

Shaw Creek & Mountain are named for Ezra Shaw, early-day Ranger at Seeley Lake.

Hahn Creek is named for a packer and Ranger.

White River is named for Steward Edward White, famous author.

Murphy Flats, between Holbrook and Salmon Forks, is named for Joe Murphy, outfitter from Ovando. He has used this area as a campsite since 1919.

Slippery Bill Mountain & Morrison Creek are named for William H. Morrison, early-day trapper and Forest Ranger. He had squatter's rights on 160 acres at Summit, where he lived by his wits until he died in Kalispell in March 1932. He is buried in Conrad Memorial Cemetery.

Shields Creek & Mountain are named for Thomas Shields, Great Northern Railroad telegraph operator and Essex post master. Marion Lake is named for his daughter; and Almeda Lake, for his wife.

Danaher Creek & Mountain are named for Thomas Danaher, early Ranger who homesteaded here in 1898. His homestead was in what is now the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Marshall Creek is named for a trapper. He died about 1918.

Barlett Creek & Mountain are named for a Forest employee.

Phil Creek is named for Phillip Clack, former Ranger, and brother of former Assistant Supervisor Jack Clack.

Lewis Creek is named for Ranger D. H. Lewis.

Sullivan Creek is named for a former Spotted Bear District Ranger, John Sullivan.

Logan Creek is named for Sidney M. Logan, who worked mining claims in this area.

Creeks in the Lower South Fork—Mazie, Anna, Pearl, Goldie, Emma, Flossie, Elya, Maggie, Mamie, Doris, and others—were named for "girls" U.S.G.S. men met in town.

Coram is named for William Coram, early-day Kalispell timberman.

Hungry Horse got its name because two horses became lost in the area and nearly starved.

Belton is named for James Belton, early trapper.

Great Bear Creek & Mountain were named by Senator Penrose of Pennsylvania.

Paola Creek is named for a Great Northern Railroad contractor.

Mt. Forester is named for W. J. Forester, member of a U.S.G.S. crew of 1914.

Mt. Furlong is named for James Furlong, early trapper and prospector. He worked for the G.N.R.R. from 1900 to 1924.

Giefer Creek is named for Phil Giefer, Forest Ranger who homesteaded in the area and lived in old McCarthyville.

Mt. Bradley & Bradley Creek are named for Richard Bradley, early-day Forest Ranger in the area.

Dirty Face Creek is named for "Dirty Face" McDonald, early trapper and prospector.

Bergseiker Creek is named for E. F. Bergseiker, a trapper and guide for U.S.G.S. in 1914. He also worked for Great Northern as an agent and telegrapher. He died in 1955.

Mt. Leibig is named for Frank Leibig one of the Flathead's first Forest Rangers.

There are several very small veins of copper on the southwest shoulder of Running Rabbit Mountain. Thirty years ago, before vegetation became so abundant, you could count over 40 prospect diggings near the head of Edna Creek looking north into this area. There is a long tunnel in solid rock about one-fourth mile east of the Java Station. There were two tunnels on Bear Creek that went under the railroad tracks and into the mountain. There was a railroad in one of the tunnels. In 1933, Dan Hotel and I took up some of this track from inside the tunnel for use in making cattle guards. There was a large single-cylinder gas engine just outside this tunnel. The flywheels on this engine weighed over 1,000 pounds each.

The quality of the copper ore was good, but the quantity was low. No commercial mining operations were undertaken after 1910 when the area became Glacier National Park.

Elbow Lake was changed to Lindbergh Lake after the famous flyer visited the area in 1928

Names of physical features in the North Fork and Tally Lake take a different pattern. Nearly all of the North Fork Creek and Mountain names are of Indian origin.

Kimmerly, McGinnis, Mathias, Moran and others are named for early Flathead settlers.

Mt. Thompson Seton is named for the famous author, who once visited this area.

South and Middle Fork features are generally named for early trappers, prospectors, and early Forest Service employees.

The pattern for names in the Tally Lake District is different again. Most of the names are for early settlers: Logan, Sheppard, Griffin, Johnson, Engalls, Swaney, Sanders, Good, Swanson, Miller, Martin, Ashley, Reid, Daggett, Plume, Bowen, Gergen, Keith, LaBeau, Listle, Dunsire, Sinclair, Sullivan, Hand, Oettiker, Taylor, Evers, Gregg, McGovern, and others. Most of these names are familiar to anyone who has lived for any length of time in the Flathead. Many of these people became famous in building the Flathead.

The name Tally is for a. Mr. Tally who filed on land on the north shore of this lake. His log cabin was in the Tally Lake Campground flat.

The name Columbia Falls suggests there must be a falls in the nearby Flathead River. But, there are no falls anywhere near this area. I was talking to Peter Gutenshon about this in 1937. Pete was an early-day trainman on the Great Northern Railroad. The naming of Columbia Falls came about according to Pete at the time the Great Northern went to Whitefish. Jim Hill, builder of the railroad, experienced some difficulty negotiating for suitable land in this vicinity for division headquarters of his railroad. The town was then known as just Columbia. When negotiations failed, Jim is reported to have said, "Here is where Columbia falls." He built the railroad division headquarters at an entirely new location, Whitefish, Montana. But the name Columbia became Columbia Falls in 1908.

Waldbillig Mountain, near the head of Gordon Creek on the Big Prairie District, is named for a Forest employee and game warden. About 1906, while attempting to arrest a group of Flathead Indians caught violating game laws in the Pendant Creek area, he was killed by the Indians. Another game warden by the name of Morgan from Ovando came in and packed out the body. The Indians fled. No one was ever convicted for this murder.

The gathering of these names was accomplished by various means, mostly by long-time association. F. S. June, Great Northern employee at Essex and former Forest employee, provided much assistance.