Farviews/Pattee Canyon

Where all of Missoula becomes your scenery.

Missoula’s layout makes a dramatic shift upward above South Higgins Avenue as road grades change and climb and houses dot the hillside. This is the appropriately named Farviews/Pattee Canyon Neighborhood, which at night, appears as hundreds of twinkling lights from the Missoula Valley floor. The homes are a mix of styles, some close together with sloping yards, and some farther up, on larger acreage lots or even hillside ranch land. The elevation of this whole neighborhood proves to be a welcome challenge for hikers and mountain bikers. There are even some brave runners who train for hills in these parts. The vast, steeply pitched terrain also makes for great golfing. Being above town doesn’t seem to affect the connection residents have with the rest of the community. The University, downtown, and the southern and western parts of town are readily accessible from here and many residents are active in the neighborhood as well as the community as a whole. They may have a different vantage point, but Farviews/Pattee Canyon neighbors share in the view of Missoula as an ideal place to live.

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Neighbors embrace the elevation as their special part of Missoula.

PatteeCan-Farviews-live-hereThe area that is categorized as the Farviews is very open, hence the expansive north facing views of the entire city of Missoula and the mountains beyond. Just east of these relatively traditional enclaves is the sparsely populated, wild narrows of Pattee Canyon. While many Missoulians flock to the Pattee Canyon Recreation Area for play, not as many live here. Those who do are happily secluded in the pine trees with dramatic topography carved by Pattee Creek itself. Close proximity to the canyon’s trail system is a definite benefit of living here. There’s no loading up the car. You can just get on your bike and go. The bike and hiking trails are turned over to the silent movement of cross-country skiers when the first good snow blankets the forest. Under the canopy of pine, skiers find themselves in an enchanted winter wonderland that goes on for miles, yet is just minutes from Higgins. Another popular trail starts on the south end of Mount Sentinel in the Farviews/Pattee Canyon Neighborhood and makes a quick, steep climb up the face. It’s a relatively short, but brutal, first ascent which then levels out for a northern approach to the “M” above the University of Montana campus. The trail also forks east toward Pattee Canyon. Wear sunscreen on this hike – there are no shade trees, but there are views for miles. There is another lesser-known trail system that winds throughout the Farviews as well.

While this neighborhood is among the largest collection of hillside dwellings in Missoula, it still maintains plenty of open space. Above the more densely populated areas of the Farviews/Pattee Canyon Neighborhood there are several farms and ranches bordered by Plum Creek and Forest Service land rising up to the summit of Mount Dean Stone. Within the neighborhood there are several parks, including the aptly named High Park off Simons Drive and the smaller Whitaker Park that includes basketball courts and horseshoe pits. Players can attempt to avoid the tree hazards at the Pattee Canyon Disc Golf Course, nationally recognized by the Professional Disc Golf Association. And of course, if you head up Ben Hogan Drive you’ll see ranch land and a giant ham radio antennae on your right and the Highlands Golf Course on your left. If you’ve never played on a hilltop course, the beautiful surroundings may be a little distracting to your game, but you’re sure to return for another tee time.

PatteeCan-Farviews-golfersGolfers, neighbors, and other Missoulians have long made the journey up Ben Hogan Drive to The Keep Restaurant. Diners may choose between the warm and inviting interior dining room or a more casual meal on the patio. The Mansion, a restaurant that once stood in the exact foundation of The Keep, is the namesake for the Mansion Heights section of this neighborhood. In 1992, The Mansion burned to the ground, much to the sadness of the city. The Keep was rebuilt in The Mansion’s exact foundation and has been operating in the same footprint ever since. The original mansion belonged to railroad magnate Thomas Greenough and resided in the Rattlesnake Valley. The home was moved to its hill top location in 1964 with the construction of I-90. Some have reported that the unsettling movement of the home stirred up ghost activity from the spirit of Thomas’ daughter, Edith Greenough.

Of course it goes without saying that there will be stories and speculation about the house on the hill, but Farviews/Pattee Canyon neighbors all share this hillside – the views, the stories, the avoidance of the local deer, and the sense of community.

Pattee Canyon is named for one of Missoula’s industrious founders. Millwright David Pattee joined forces with C.P. Higgins and Frank Worden when they were building the sawmill near where the Higgins Avenue Bridge is today. The men knew the need for construction grade lumber would only increase as Missoula grew. Pattee also helped in the construction and operation of a gristmill nearby to process the grain being grown in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys. Thus the company Missoula Mill Works was born. Pattee settled a farm in what is now Pattee Canyon and grew grain to be hauled to the mill as well. He went on to be a civic leader within the Missoula community and was elected Missoula County treasurer.

At the bottom of the hillside on SW Higgins, The Gibson Mansion Bed and Breakfast is a wonderful example of the masterful designs of Missoula’s visionary architect, A.J. Gibson. Built for the Peterson family, the mansion is in the Queen Anne style with both Roman and Georgian Revival elements. It was moved in 1979 to its current location where it has been lovingly restored to its early 1900s splendor. Gibson designed over 150 structures in the Missoula area, including the Missoula County Courthouse and Main Hall on UM’s campus. His distinct style was examined and chronicled by UM art history and art criticism professor Hipólito Rafael Chacón in his book, The Original Man: The Life and Work of Montana Architect A.J. Gibson. The book evolved into a traveling exhibit that was on display throughout the state. Read more about Chacón’s project here.

Not necessarily one for the history books, there was a strange, yet highly anticipated, winter tradition that for many years Farviews/Pattee Canyon neighbors waited for with glee. It wasn’t the first snowfall or the opening of the sledding hill, but something a bit more unusual. Every year a woman living in the rural ranch homestead at the top of Whitaker Road would allow the water from her well pump to freeze into a giant ice sculpture. Kids particularly would come from throughout the neighborhood to see just how the abstract work of temporary art would turn out.

Many of us remember the various ways we kept up on the comings and goings of our hometowns and neighborhoods. Whether it was through the grapevine, a community group, or the weekly newspaper, we had a resource for information and an outlet to share our thoughts. TheLiveMissoula! neighborhood blogs revisit that concept in a new way by providing an open, online destination where neighborhood stories can be posted and shared. To contribute to the discussion, we encourage you to add your comments. If you have an idea for a story, contact the Neighborhood Volunteer Advocate listed under each neighborhood’s Fast Facts pages.