Missoula’s Makeover: Rebrands You Might Not Know About
The only constant is change, so supposedly was said by the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus. The gods were not looking out for the famous bird known as the Twitter.com logo on Monday when the logo was struck from the site and replaced with a shiny new X.
Twitter has always been known for its bird, but some things weren’t meant to stay the same. If the giant, global social media platform can undergo some change, our quaint city of Missoula is allowed some growing room, too.
Let’s look back on some places in Missoula that have undergone a rebranding in recent years.
The Missoula PaddleHeads
This Pioneer League baseball team went from aves to ungulates. Formerly known as the Osprey, Missoula’s professional sports team took over the PaddleHeads name in 2019.
The team moved on from the animal that resides above its ballpark and now touts a moose in sandals floating in an inner tube, paddling along the river with a bat paddle.
It feels very Missoula-in-the-summertime. The PaddleHeads logo is plastered on merch all throughout town; I can’t go into Orange Street Food Farm without seeing a floating moose on a hat.
Not everyone was happy about this change, though. On a Reddit thread listing the worst Minor League baseball team names, the PaddleHeads made an appearance.
The University of Montana
Can you believe it…this school used to have the name of its now-rival! According to an archived edition of Montanan Magazine, the school took on the name Montana State University—which is now the major four-year college in Bozeman—in 1935. The university kept that name for 30 years before it went back to being the University of Montana, as we know it today.
More than just the name of the university has changed over the years. The Grizzly mascot is now a costume worn by a human. The character goes by the name of Monte.
It wasn’t always a costume, though.
The University of Montana’s mascot used to be real, live bear cubs. This was in the very early days of UM, going all the way back to about 1897, according to the mascot history collection archived at the Mansfield Library.
You may also notice some new colors as a part of UM’s recent rebranding effort. The school’s colors had, for a long time, been maroon and silver. Maroon remains, but colors on campus now include a brighter “sunset red” and “copper climb.”
The Missoula Montana Airport
It once was international. Okay, the flights the airport offers didn’t drop the overseas connections, but they did drop “international” from their name.
“The international designation is something a lot of airports did in the 70s and 80s as more of a status symbol. It seems to be at the point now where it has watered-down the meaning of it. The name change is more reflective of what the airport is and who we serve,” Tim Damrow, director of projects for the airport, said in the Missoula Current.
This change happened in 2021 and came with a new logo. What was once Missoula International Airport is now Missoula Montana Airport. Maybe it’s the rebranding, or maybe it’s Yellowstone, but the airport just recently set a new passenger record.
The Beartracks Bridge
Not all rebranding is for a company. The Beartracks Bridge officially got its new name in 2022 after Missoula County partnered with “the original inhabitants of this special place we all now call home,” according to Commissioner David Strohmaier on the county’s website.
Missoula resides on lands that are territories of the Séliš and Ql̓ispé (Salish and Kalispel) peoples. The new name reflects that history.
Formerly known as the Higgins Ave. Bridge, the Beartracks Bridge spans over the Clark Fork River, connecting the Hip Strip to downtown Missoula. “Bear Tracks” is the name that's been used in English, but you can learn to say it in Salish here.
The Beartracks Bridge has been under ongoing construction since before its name changed. That should be done soon, we hope.
Alt Missoula 95.7
Did you know Alt 95.7 used to be on a different station? It’s true! Alternative Missoula used to be on the frequency 101.5. After bringing Cherry Creek Media onto the Townsquare Media team, the station changed frequencies.
Despite the change, Alt 95.7 still offers the same music as before! And don’t forget, you can hear us even if you don’t have that old-school radio. Download the Alt 95.7 app here so you can listen at any time, save your favorite articles, and stay up to date on news, contests, and more!