A-yo party people! Here at Draught Works, we are proud to be located in Missoula’s Northside. Though this neighborhood has seen its share of ups and downs through the years, we love the eclectic mix of people, architecture, and businesses that make up our little corner of Missoula. That is one of the reasons we decided to create our Northside Special Edition cask, featuring bits and pieces of objects scraped off the Northside Pedestrian Bridge! That’s right. Some of our favorite additions include: an old takeout container, a smushed piece of pie, an egg that was smashed, one left sock, and the keypad half of an old flip phone. Are you brave enough to come down and try it? Are you gullible enough to believe we really did this? APRIL FOOLS.
But really, all joking aside, we really do love our neighborhood and feel lucky to be a part of it. Our neighboring businesses offer a variety of products and services that aren’t available anywhere else in town! Here are a few of our neighboring businesses that we wanted to throw some props on for being so full of steez.
Montana Antique Mall – 331 W. Railroad: The Montana Antique Mall is the largest in Montana with 4 floors and over 15,000 square feet of antiques and collectibles. Open 7 days a week, you are sure to find some interesting wares to tickle your fancy.
Bike Doctor – 1001 Toole: Has your ride been saltin’ your transportation vibe? Better head on over to the Bike Doctor. They will fix your cycle up right from safety checks all the way to full overhauls.
China Woods – 716 N. Dickens: Have your friends been muggin’ your abode due to lack of originality or style? Hit up China Woods Fine Furniture & Gallery when your pad is in need of some spicing up. They travel to Asia, China in particular, and collect things they love, then bring them back to Missoula and sell them to those in need of worldly goods.
Freestone Climbing Center – 935 Toole (right next door to us!): Home of Missoula climbing. This gym has about 1900 sq ft of bouldering, 16 foot tall top-outs, long traverses and thick foam floors. When you aren’t too busy mobbin’ around the Northside with your crew, sharpen your climbing skillz at Freestone!
Garage Tees – 725 W. Alder: Get down to Garage Tees to get hooked up with some sweet threads. They offer custom screen printing on the highest quality apparel. They are purveyors of the Montana Is For Badasses clothing line, so you know they keep it trill. Plus, their funny, zany staff will treat you right.
Missoula Fresh Market 800 W. Broadway: If local is your jam, Missoula Fresh Market has got you covered in the grocery department. From the folks who brought us Orange Street Food Farm comes Missoula Fresh Market! The former Safeway stores on Broadway & Reserve and have been given new life as some trill, local grocery stores. Stop in and check them out!
MUST – 736 Cooper: Missoula Underground Strength Training Center will take that softy ole body of yours, honed after years of chillaxin’ on the couch, to the next level. MUSTFIT is a new method of instructing trainees (you) as they move throughout their workouts. MUSTFIT allows individuals the opportunity to learn structure, proper movements, and proper execution of exercise regimes without having to pay the high dollar of personal training.
Summer Sun Garden & Brew – 838 W. Spruce: They will hook you up with everything you need to grow your own food, brew your own beer, and also some beer and wine to drink while you complete the first two activities. Summer Sun Garden and Brew (Formerly “The Green Light Garden and Brew”) Started in 2008 and has grown into Montana’s largest home for indoor/outdoor gardening supplies, home brew equipment, and bottles of beer and wine from Missoula and the world. With a selection of organic groceries, hot sauces, and munchies, Summer Sun Garden and Brew is truly the Missoulian’s one stop shop.
Now that you have learned about some dope, current businesses in the Northside, let’s take a trip back in time to the Northside of yesteryear. How did this mysterious place come to be? What makes it the vibrant space it has become?
According to the North Missoula Community Development Corporation: “Traditionally, a high proportion of neighborhood residents worked for the railroad, the hospital or for the industries that grew up around the railroad yard. Once a thriving working class community surrounded with agricultural and range land, the neighborhoods suffered a series of adversities in the latter part of the 20th century that began a new period of disinvestment and decline. Due to the will of the Northern Pacific, the grade-level crossings that joined the Northside to the Westside
and downtown were closed in 1939 and replaced with a single underpass for both vehicles and pedestrians.
The arrival of Interstate 90 in the mid-1960s forced the removal of 60 homes, including the Greenough Mansion. The north side of Missoula became isolated between the Interstate and the tracks while the Greenough Mansion was moved to a South Hills golf course and converted to a restaurant. This dichotomy has prevailed with the North Side feeling neglected by the city and the South Hills becoming the city’s new upscale region. With the release of the latest Missoula Downtown Master Plan in 2009 increased emphasis was directed toward redeveloping the North Side’s former rail yard and the area just south of the tracks.”
One of the strangest tales of the Northside that we came across was the history of the Greenough Park Bear Pit. Yes, that circular stone enclosure still sitting in Greenough Park to this day was home to various black bears from around 1905 well into the 1920’s. Two of the bears’ names were Gingerbread Man and Merely Mary Ann. The history of its construction and upkeep are still vague, but an interesting anecdote nonetheless.
So there you have it folks, some cool info on our favorite Missoula neighborhood, an enclave of originality, culture, and Missoula heritage. Get out there and visit, walk around, and learn about this place. That way, you won’t look like such a Northside busta, frontin’ your pseudo gritty vibes.