Fun Facts

City of Great Falls Montana

Great Falls First!

  • Great Falls had the first fire bell in the State of Montana in 1887
  • Great Falls was the first known community in Montana to elect an African American. In 1894, William M. Morgan was elected to one of two open constable positions.
  • Great Falls had the first woman newspaper editor in Montana. Martha Edgerton Rolfe became editor of the Great Falls Leader in 1895, when her husband died of typhoid fever. Mrs. Rolfe, daughter of the first territorial governor of Montana, was also the first white woman to live in Great Falls arriving in May of 1884.
  • Great Falls bought the first motorized fire fighting apparatus in the State of Montana in 1910.
  • Great Falls had the first black Public Library Director in Montana. Alma Jacobs was Library Director from 1954-1973.
  • In 1982, Great Falls hired the first female firefighter in the state.

Claims to Fame

  • Roe River — the world's shortest river
  • Giant Springs — the largest fresh water spring in the U.S.
  • Western Art Week
  • Most rapid temperature change registered in the United States (-32F to 15F in 7 minutes January 11, 1980 NOAA)

Great Falls Also Known As...

  • The Electric City
  • River City
  • Western Art Capital of the World

Movies Made In and Around Great Falls

  • Northfork (2003)
  • The Slaughter Rule (2002)
  • Holy Matrimony (1994)
  • The Untouchables (1987)
  • The Stone Boy (1984)
  • Telefon (1977)
  • Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)

Famous People Who've Lived in Great Falls

  • Walter Breuning — world's oldest man (before his death in 2011)
  • Betty, Gene, and Tom Burkland — land speed record holders
  • Connie Colla — Emmy winner for TV Journalism (East Coast regional)
  • Terry Casey — U. S. World Championship hockey team
  • Dorothy Coburn — Silent Movie Actress and Stunt person
  • Scott Davis — Twice Ice Skating National Champion and Olympian
  • Dave Dickenson — football star, led the UM Grizzlies to national title
  • Todd Foster — National Golden Gloves Champion and Olympian
  • Pete Fromm — writer, four-time winner of PNBA book awards
  • Tracey and Missy Gold — child sit-com actresses (Growing Pains and Benson)
  • Jim Kalafat — American Gladiator
  • Jesse Kruse — National Finals Rodeo Champion
  • Mike Mansfield — statesman, Representative, Senator, Ambassador to Japan
  • Dallas Neil — NFL Player
  • John Petkevich — Ice Skating National Champion and Olympian
  • Charley Pride — Country Music Star
  • William Roth — Congressman from Delaware (Roth IRA) born in Great Falls
  • Charles M. Russell — Western Artist
  • Lones Wigger — 2 Olympic Gold and 1 Silver in shooting events
  • Bob Woolf — NBA Mascot (in Mascot Hall of Fame)
  • Jack Dempsey — boxing legend (1923 training camp in Verde Park)
  • Brother Van — Early Methodist Missionary to the Native Americans
  • Lewis, Clark and the other members of the Corps of Discovery (they lived in the area for nearly a month :) )


By the Numbers -- in 2010

  • 609 Building Permits were issued
  • there were 64 City Parks
  • there were 45,000 trees
  • there were 366 miles of streets and alleys
  • there were 216,803 library visitors
  • 355,502 items were borrowed from the library
  • there were 43 water main breaks
  • there were 11,985 street signs


  • 47° 30' N latitude 111° 18' W longitude (give or take for location in town)

Three Rivers:

  • Missouri
  • Sun
  • Roe

Museums/ Interpretive Centers:

  • Cascade County Historical Society
  • Charles M. Russell Museum
  • Children’s Museum of Montana
  • Galerie Trinitas
  • Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center
  • Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum
  • Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art
  • First People's Buffalo Jump Visitor's Center (outside of Ulm)
  • Ursuline Centre

Official Flower:

  • Iris -- effective June 8, 1964

Within a distance of 10 miles the Missouri River drops 512 feet over:

  • Great Falls of the Missouri -- 96 feet
  • Crooked Falls -- 26 feet
    • only visible falls in the Missouri/Mississippi River system that doesn't have a dam sitting on top of it
  • Rainbow Falls -- 48 feet
  • Coulter Falls -- 12 feet
    • no longer visible; covered by the pool of water behind Rainbow Dam
  • Black Eagle Falls -- 42 feet
    • only set actually in town

Nearby Hydroelectric Dams:

  • Ryan (sits atop the Great Falls of the Missouri)
  • Morony
  • Cochran
  • Rainbow (sits atop Rainbow Falls)
  • Black Eagle (sits atop Black Eagle Falls)

The Civic Center/Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts

  • Dedicated April 19, 1940
  • Of five downtown theaters, the only one that is still used as a theater
  • Housed an ice skating rink until 1979 -- the area is now the Mansfield Convention Center

Population Highlights:

  • In 1950, passed Butte to become the largest city in Montana
  • 1970: second largest city (Billings became largest)
  • 2000: third largest city (Missoula became second)