History of Montana’s Place Names
Now Available on Web
(HELENA) --- Among Montana’s most enduring legacies are the names assigned to its geographic features and places found on the state map. As long as humans have inhabited Montana, they have named places. And Montana place names are as varied as its terrain.
If you’ve ever wondered who named Alzada or if you’ve ever pondered about the origin of Zortman, the Montana Historical Society and the Montana State Library have developed the perfect Web site for you. “The Montana Place Names Companion” is now freely available via the Internet at: http://mtplacenames.org.
“The Place Names Companion” is the online application based on the book, Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman, which was recently published by the Montana Historical Society press. Thoroughly researched and written by staff of the Montana Historical Society, the book details the origin of place names for over 1,200 geographic locations in Montana and is filled with history and anecdotes for places throughout the state. Web users can search the online “Companion” application to find information about the same places that are highlighted in the book.
“It is wonderful to see the book in print and it is equally wonderful to see the new Web site ‘Companion’ made available to the people of Montana,” said Richard Sims, Director of the Montana Historical Society. “From the very beginning, we have partnered with the Montana State Library to develop a database that would catalog the thousands of bits of information we collected as we researched this book.”
The “Place Names Companion” Web site is easy to use. People can explore Montana via the Web by searching for specific place names, key words, phrases or personal names that might be found in the descriptions of the actual place names. Search results display in an online mapped application. Users can view the place name location on the Montana highway map, a state topographic map, or with aerial photos.
The details that are displayed for each of the more than 1,200 place names include:
- Complete text and any images from the book
- All related geographic information
- Latitude and longitude of each location.
The online “Place Names Companion” is an excellent resource for people who want ready access to information at their online finger tips. It also offers a means for people to provide comments and feedback to the authors as well as suggestions for place names to include in future editions of the book.
“We’re delighted to be able to offer this Web site to the people of Montana,” said Jennie Stapp, CIO and Digital Library Director at the Montana State Library. “We hope that the book and the Web site work together to inspire Montanans to explore our beautiful state and to share their knowledge, photos, and historical materials with us to further contribute to the information we can make available about Montana.”
Through its statewide programs, the Montana State Library empowers Montanans; enhances learning in families and communities; builds 21st Century skills; and provides opportunities for civic participation. For more information, visit http://msl.mt.gov.