Eureka is a quaint town on the Tobacco River just 6 miles south of the Canadian border and 50 miles north of Whitefish. It is an area known as the Tobacco Valley because the relatively warm climate enabled American Indians to grow tobacco here. Today, while the growing season is relatively short, farmers can still produce multiple grain crops if the weather obliges.
Originally known as “Deweyville,” Eureka was founded in the early 1880s as settlers moved north from Missoula and south from Canada. (The Historical Village at the south end of town includes numerous structures and artifacts dating from the time of the town’s origins.) It was one of the last best areas to be developed in Montana in frontier times, and logging was a major source of income for decades. Eureka was also known as the “Christmas Tree Capital of the World,” with evergreens shipped to many urban points for holiday sales. (This year – 2017 – Christmas trees destined for Washington, D.C., will be chosen from the Kootenai National Forest.)
However, logging declined in the early 1990s, and the area now depends on tourism, especially in the summer. Today, Eureka is the only commercial center within a 50-mile radius. Its registered population of just a little over 1,000 is growing and aging, as retirees discover the peaceful beauty of the area.
Eureka is not just outdoor fun. It also boasts an impressive collection of shops, art galleries, fine dining, and even a movie theater. (See this site’s Directory.)
The Sunburst Foundation works hard to bring an impressive calendar of performing arts to the community, including music for The Farmers’ Market, Shakespeare in the Park, and concerts on cold winter nights.
In the late 1970s, Eureka began “Rendezvous Days – Hotrods & Buckskins” on the the last full weekend in April every year. Other annual events are The Rodeo, The Bull Thing, Lincoln County Fair, The Quilt Show, and more. (See this site’s home page for current activities.)
The Historical Village in Eureka, Montana is a collection of historic buildings and artifacts from the Tobacco Valley area. The properties, which include ten structures and their contents, are maintained and administered by volunteer workers and fundraisers inspired by a concern to preserve the history of the Tobacco Valley area. This unique collection of structures and artifacts was made possible by generous donations from a number of private donors and Lincoln Electric Cooperative. Some of the buildings and artifacts date back to the 1880s and 1920s. They include a general store, schoolhouse, library, church, two log cabins, hand-hewn house, railway depot, caboose, and fire tower, some of which were rescued during the Libby Dam construction era in the late 1960s. Interpreters are on site and all buildings are open to the public from Memorial Day through Labor Day 1 to 5 p.m. The Fewkes General Store, which serves as a museum, is also the depository of a large collection of archival materials donated by organizations and residents of the Tobacco Valley. This includes an extensive, properly cataloged and registered archive of written and photographic materials. These materials are available for research at a minimal fee.Volunteers at the village offer interpretative and public programs, conduct research, and create exhibits from their extensive collection of memorabilia donated by different families. The Historical Village is also a source of visitor information for the Tobacco Valley and the grounds are available for both private and public events.The village also features a native plant display designed to teach the value and importance of native plants and animals to Native Americans and early settlers to the area and the continued importance of preserving the area’s natural resource heritage.