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First Presbyterian Church

Our Community


Great Falls is located on the upper reaches of the Missouri River, sixty miles east of the Rocky Mountain Front in an area known as Russell Country.  Within a few miles of the city are two other significant mountain ranges:  the Highwood Mountains and the Little Belt Mountains.  One hundred forty miles northwest of Great Falls lies Glacier National Park, two hundred twenty-three miles to the south is Yellowstone National Park, and eighty miles to the west if the Bob Marshall Wilderness.


A "Holy" Neighborhood

First Presbyterian Church is located on the eastern edge of downtown Great Falls in what could be termed a "church-dense" area.  In the immediate area (approximately 1/2 mile diameter) there are seventeen churches.  The neighborhood includes a large parking area owned by our Church, the Paris Gibson Square Art Center, a family-owned mortuary, a Christian Science Church, and Our Savior's Lutheran Church.  The residential area begins just one black to the north, east, and south of the church.



The population of Great Falls is approximately sixty thousand, and at the time of this writing, is the third largest city in Montana (Billings is #1 followed by Missoula at #2).  Great Falls is the county seat of Cascade County, population approximately eighty thousand.  It serves as the hub of a trade area called the Golden Triangle - a major grain-producing  region embracing all of North Central Montana, an area roughly the size of New England.  The population of this area is predominantly Caucasian, with approximately 5% Native American.  The remainder of the diversity comes primarily from the military.




This region enjoys a relatively mild climate of a northern latitude.  Summer temperatures do not often reach the nineties.  In the winter, although temperatures can be cold at times, warm winds called "Chinooks" blow regularly off the east slopes of the Rocky Mountains; it is not unusual for temperatures to swing as much as 50-degrees in one day!  And to the delight of all, snowfall melts completely several times during the snow throughout the season remains fresh, white, and sparkling.  Temperatures in the forties and fifties in January and February are not uncommon; the average high temperature in July is 82 degrees and the average high in January is 32 degrees (average low is 11 degrees).  Since this is semi-arid high plains country, humidity is normally low, making both heat and cold more tolerable.  One of the best climactic features is the fact that one sees the sun practically every day, winter or summer.


Economic Base

Agricultural, energy, tourism, services, health care, and military installations provide the bulk of the economic base of the community.  Great Falls is a regional medical center with over three thousand people employed in that sector.



Educational opportunities abound.  The University of Great Falls is located in the city as are branches of the Montana State University System.  There are two public high schools, two middle schools, and fifteen elementary schools.  Vocational training is available at the Montana State University College of Technology; special training is available through Montana School for the Deaf and Blind and Paris Gibson Education Center (Alternative high school).  Private schooling is provided by Catholic, Baptist, and Seventh Day Adventists Churches.



Northwest, Delta, United, and Horizon Airlines provide access to the world from their modern facilities located at the Great Falls International Airport.  The city is situated on Interstate Highway 15.  Amtrak passenger railroad service is located in Shelby, only 85 miles from Great Falls.  There is also a city transit system.



Family Recreation

Great Falls is a wonderful place for the family.  River's Edge Trail, approximately thirty miles long, has won national civic awards. Gibson Park, in the center of the city features the community band shell and a large pond that serves as a home to geese and ducks.  It is one of many parks and picnic areas within the city and along the river.  There are four municipal swimming pools, a wave-rider, and a world-class skateboard park.  Each year, Great Falls hosts the State Fair, PRCA National Finals Rodeo, and many other events.


Outdoor Recreation/Sports

Within an afternoon's drive are nearly unlimited recreational opportunities.  Whatever the season, outdoor sporting activities abound, from water skiing to snow skiing - downhill or cross country; hiking and camping; golfing at the city's five courses; fishing and boating on the Missouri River or on nearby reservoirs or lakes.  This stretch of the Missouri is considered to be one of the great trout fisheries of North America and many of its tributaries are blue ribbon trout streams as well.  Great Falls is also home to a minor league baseball team and a professional basketball team.  Springtime brings the Ice Breaker semi-professional run and summer, the Rankin run.  In the fall comes the nationally renowned small and big game hunting season



Lewis and Clark's journey to the west coast in 184-1806 is a major part of Montana's history.  Coming up the Missouri River, they could hear the roar of the series of five waterfalls, thus the name "Great Falls".  Meriwether Lewis called it (the falls) "the grandest sight I ever beheld".  A world class Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center depicting their journey opened in 2003.

One of the great western art museums is located in Great Falls.  The C. M. Russell Museum, names for the famous Great Falls' artist Charles Marion Russell, is visited by some fifty thousand people per year and supported by the equally famous Russell Art Auction held annually in the spring.  Among other notable attractions are the High Plains Heritage Center, the Ulm Pishken (buffalo jump) and Interpretative Center, Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, and the Children's Museum of Montana.  Great Falls has a strong theatre contingency and an award-winning symphony.  Top entertainers perform in Great Falls throughout the year.




People like to live in Montana because of the recreational opportunities and the absence of a large number of people as well as the problems and stress that accompany them.  Great Falls is small enough to let residents enjoy these attributes, yet large enough to provide excellent schools, medical facilities, and services necessary to maintain a high quality of life.  We welcome you - come join the good life in "the Last Best Place"...Great Falls, Montana.


Photos provided by Michelle Rogers

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