As the story goes, writer James Willard Schultz and a Blackfeet friend coined the name for the world’s most famous road. While butchering a ram on a high peak, the two discussed that the peak would make an ideal spot for a vision quest and the name Going to the Sun was created.

Before the famous highway was built, the closest thing to a road in the area was a washed out wagon train that connected Apgar to Belton. It was known, fondly, as ‘the worst three miles of road in Montana. But it was the only access to its wonders.

 In 1910, a fierce debate raged over whether or not roads should be allowed in Glacier National Park. Opinions ran strong—equating the absence of a road as an immoral kind of management. As to the morality of paved ways into wilderness, locals often sided with road construction—painting it akin to halting the progress of westward civilization. One Kalispell businessman went so far as to state “A Park without roads is a menace to civilization and settlement and a barrier to communication between states and districts."

 Bids for the ‘Transmountain Highway’ (the project’s first nickname) were opened in Portland, Oregon on June 10, 1925. The highway was completed in two parts—the west side was constructed first, followed by the east side. The west portion was completed on October 28, 1928 when they reached. 

At the peak of construction, 300 men were employed and 250 tons of explosives blasted the mountains. The road, like most progress, took its own brutal toll: gravity and explosives were the prime threats to the workers, and by its completion in 1933 several men had died. The east section proved far deadlier than the western section. 

But civilization, access or the world’s most scenic highway triumphed and on July 15, 1933 the road was officially dedicated. FOR ANOTHER COOL STORY ON THE ROAD FROM THE NY TIMES, GO TO THIS LINK

PICTURED BELOW: Early sections of Going to the Sun road. In addtions to the many tons of expolosives, gravity and heights were a daily threat, but one that meant incredible vies in all directions.