Location: northern border is South Third Street West; western border is just past Reserve Street; eastern border is from Russell Street, angling southwest along the railroad tracks
Features: Adjacent to Larchmont Municipal Golf Course and Southgate Mall
Public Schools: Franklin Elementary
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Franklin to the Fort
Diverse neighborhood a diamond in the rough
By Breeana Laughlin
In Missoula, the Franklin to the Fort neighborhood, otherwise known as F2F, is a source of pride for many residents who it call it home.
“It is a diamond in the rough. It's affordable, it's convenient and it has amenities. So it has an awful lot going for it,” said resident Jon Salmonson, who has owned a home in the neighborhood for about 30 years.
Franklin to the Fort begins at South Third Street West and Russell Street. It's southern border follows the Bitterroot Spur Trail to Reserve Street and continues north along Reserve back to Third.
“One of the complexities of societies as we build subdivisions is that you get all of the same socio-economic classes together, and it really narrows your view and the view of your children as you raise your family,” said Janet Fiero.
That's not the case in the Franklin to the Fort neighborhood, which offers a mix of dwellings ranging from the frugal to the fancy, neighbors said.
“It has a wonderful diversity of socio-economics - students, elders, young families and professionals just starting out, single, married - all of the above,” Fiero said.
The neighborhood is centrally located within Missoula. Residents say they enjoy it because nothing is too far away.
Franklin to the Fort also has an interesting history. It's oldest sidewalk was built in 1913.
For those who drive along Catlin Street and wonder why it's so wide and commercially zoned, the roadway was once used as a street car track. The city's street car barns were located where the Forest Service now has its service depot south of 14th Street.
Today, community members are coming together for a common vision for Franklin to the Fort.
“A lot of people have the same sort of vision for the neighborhood and it's nice to get to together and work toward those goals,” said neighborhood council member Tara Mickey.
“I think everybody wants basically the same kinds of things. We want a safe place to live where we can be comfortable and raise a family, or walk down the street and see a friend,” she said.
Members of the neighborhood council work on things from local infrastructure, to social gatherings and beautification projects.
Judy Hewitt, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1977, says she stumbled into the neighborhood council.
“I live right across the street and I was curious about what was going on,” she said. “I came to see what it was like and they drafted me.”
Fiero said people who live in the Franklin to Fort neighborhood have no excuse not to get involved if they want be part of the decision making processes in their neighborhood and the larger community of Missoula.
“Either get active or shut up. You can't just sit by yourself and complain about sidewalks or zoning, cars or lack of curbs,” Fiero said.
“This isn't just one neighborhood. This is 17 neighborhoods. So there is a whole infrastructure for people to get active in their neighborhoods. We work toward common goals that way,” she said.