Capt. John Mullan U.S. Army
Capt. John Mullan, US Army, Constructor and surveyor.
He was directed to mark a wagon and railroad route from Fort Benton, Montana to Walla Walla, Washington from 1853-1855.
He built the actual road 1859-62.
The original road passed eight miles from here.
Portions of the road were used for different purposes - in Montana, it was used to transport supplies to the gold camps.
Settlers used the eastern and western portions of the road to access homestead property.
The road had numerous river crossings, requiring over 160 bridges.
Eventually Mullan revised the route to avoid the lowland flooding experienced where the road crossed the lower St. Joe Valley.
Mullan Aided by Schitsu'umsh' Guide
Mullan was aided by many Indian guides, including Bassile, a Schitsu'umsh (Coeur d'Alene) tribal member.
The work force was usually about 60 men plus 30 to 40 soldiers. His crew included engineers, a physician, carpenters, a blacksmith, teamsters, as well as laborers.
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