Tell me about Great Falls, MT.

I have a phone interview for a faculty position at a college in Great Falls. I’ve never been anywhere near there before. From what I’ve gathered by reading the forums on City Data and looking at images online, it seems like a nice area. I know, the winters are cold. I’m into that idea. But what else is cool or not so cool about the area?

The one thing that’s making me balk about this job is the pay. Most faculty jobs start in the low to mid $40K’s, but this one has a pay range starting at $36K. I’m under the impression that the cost of living in Great Falls is quite low, though, so maybe I wouldn’t be hurting with that low of a salary?

Moving from MPSIMS to IMHO.

I lived in Montana for 10 years and still try to get back there every year if I can. One thing about Great Falls (I never lived there) is that it is very windy.

What state do you currently live in? Montana generally has a lower cost of living than some places on the East Coast, but it can be a bit more than the national average in some areas due to being more isolated. I recall reading a few years ago about state jobs paying around 40k and that sounded normal for the state, so your starting salary sounds maybe about right, if perhaps a tad low.

I’m in Oregon. If CityData is to be believed, the cost of living in Montana is much lower than here.

  1. Low cost of living–but low wages. No sales tax. Relatively high cost of government services.

  2. My father served WW2 in Great Falls and the interior of Alaska. He said that Great Falls was by far the colder place. The winds can be kind of apocalyptic. Summers are nice, but it can be surprisingly hot in July and August.

  3. Not thrilling scenery. It’s a flattish place on a rolling plain. The Missouri river gorge is kind of nice. You’re a good three hours from Glacier Park, and 6-7 hours from Yellowstone. Still, those places are viable weekend destinations.

  4. Pretty isolated–Helena is the only nearby city of any real size. And Great Falls is the only city of any real size near Helena (and in Montana, “near” means within 100 miles).

  5. The people, while friendly, can also be kind of insular. It might be a while before you’re regarded as anything but an outsider.

  6. Most of the programs on the radio dial are country music or different versions of the God Channel.

  7. Very good steaks. Surprisingly, pretty good Chinese food, but not a lot of variety otherwise. That’s slowly changing, though–I think I saw a Thai restaurant there my last time through.

  8. If you’re a good poker player, you can probably make at least at much money as you’re going to in your regular job.

  9. You can flee to Canada if them revenooers come to git ya.

I grew up in Great Falls, but it has been 10 years since I have been there.

I can confirm that it is one of the windiest places in the world.

It was home to a famous western artist, Charles M Russell. There is a museum in his old house that is worth a look.

Its named after the Great Falls of the Missouri. 5 of them are now dammed up for electricity, but they are still pretty to visit.

They have a pioneer league baseball team, the Voyagers. Its a long way from the majors, but the kids play with heart! so its fun if you love baseball.