Southgate Triangle

(south central Missoula)

Missoula Montana sceneryLocation: Literally shaped like a triangle. The neighborhood’s southern border is South 39th Street from Highway 93 to Russell Street. Russell Street forms the eastern border until it intersects with Ronan Street. The western border is southwest along the railroad tracks to 39th Street.

Character: Commercial

Features: Southgate Mall

Parks: McLeod, Russell, Bellevue

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A Neighborly Triangle
The Southgate Triangle Neighborhood is home to many long-standing Missoulians

By GREG MARTIN for Real Estate Marketplace


Southgate Triangle Missoula Montana
Krista Miller Larson/For Real Estate MarketplaceUpgrades to Boyd Park in the Southgate Triangle neighborhood are nearly complete. An ice cream social to celebrate will be held in mid-July. All residents are welcome.

There are three neighborhoods south of Missoula’s Southgate Triangle. But there was a time when the area truly was the southgate entrance into Missoula.

Working on her flowers in the front of her home on Bellecrest Drive, resident Helen Koloktrones said when she and her husband arrived in May of 1971, there were only a few other houses in the area . In fact, their house wasn’t even in Missoula proper at the time. But now the streets in the area are full of other, well-kept houses and Missoula stretches miles to the south.

Koloktrones said most of her neighbors have been there for years and are well-acquainted with each other.

“It’s a wonderful neighborhood,” Koloktrones said. “It’s quiet and peaceful.”

The familiarity of long-standing residents with each other helps make it a comfortable place, she said. People look out for each other. And, she said, the few houses that go for sale on Bellecrest Drive don’t stay on the market for long.

“Once people get here, they get planted and they tend to stay,” she said.

That’s also the case for Hans Christiansen who has lived in the neighborhood for 41 years. Christiansen is a leader of the Southgate Neighborhood Council. He’s currently working with the council on an ice cream social in honor of new park upgrades to Boyd Park on the corner of Ernest Avenue and Washburn Street. The upgrades, Christiansen said, are something that residents have been requesting for years. The improvements are part of a citywide effort to upgrade parks called Playgrounds 4 Missoula, funded through stimulus dollars awarded by the state.

“It’s the first playground equipment improvement for Boyd in better than 20 years,” Christiansen said.

While the main playground piece is already installed, some landscaping details are still being finished. Christiansen said the ice cream social will probably be held in mid-July. The council will be paying for the Big Dipper ice cream truck to provide ice cream to those attending. Check the neighborhood website to find out when a date gets finalized –

It’s not all residential living in Southgate Triangle. Just a bit north from Boyd Park is Brooks Street which runs by the commercial center of the neighborhood and frequent shopping destination of many a Missoulian – Southgate Mall.

Southgate Triangle Neighborhood is, in fact, shaped like a triangle. 39th Street forms the base of the triangle. Russell Street forms its eastern border from 39th to the intersection with the Bitterroot Trail, which forms the triangle’s tip. The Montana Rail Link tracks head south diagonally from Russell Street to 39th Street. The neighborhood is home to the Missoula Taekwando Center, the shopping center with Hastings and Staples, the new Missoula Federal Credit Union building on Russell Street, among many other local businesses. It’s also directly adjacent to Tremper’s Shopping Center so neighborhood residents have a place close by to go for grocery shopping.

Kolokotrones has seen a fair amount of change to Missoula since 1971 but one thing that hasn’t changed, she said, is the character of the neighborhood.

“It’s a caring neighborhood,” she said. “If you need anything, there are neighbors here to help.”

Greg Martin is a freelance writer for the Missoulian Advertising Department.