Missoula (i/mɨzuːlə/) is a city located in western Montana and is the county seat of Missoula County. The 2010 Census put the population of Missoula at 66,788 and the population of Missoula County at 109,299. Missoula is the principal city of the Missoula Metropolitan Area. Since 1920 Missoula has seen a steady pace of growth. In 2000 Missoula became the second largest city in Montana. Since 2000 it has had the third largest actual growth amongst Montana's Cities, with an increase in population of 9,735.
Missoula was founded in 1860 as Hellgate Trading Post before being renamed Missoula Mills ("Missoula" from the Salish name for the area, "Nemissoolatakoo", and "Mills" after the prosperous flour mill and sawmill that served as Missoula's first industry). "Mills" was dropped from the name and in 1877, the establishment of Fort Missoula ensured the survival of the city.
Missoula is nicknamed the "Garden City", in reference to the large number of orchard homes that once lined its periphery and an extensive vegetable and flower garden owned by Cyrus and William McWhirk that formed the eastern entrance to the city.Downtown Missoula is the central business district of the of the city. Though founded as a lumber and agricultural center as well as a trading post, the basis of Missoula's modern economy is the University of Montana, government, healthcare, tourism, and the service industry.