Immigrants and Business

A number of immigrants established businesses in Montana. In many instances, education and social capital were important to the success of these businesses. Two immigrant-owned businesses that existed in Missoula for many years were the Peterson Drug Company and the Missoula Ice and Cold Storage Company. The Peterson Drug Company was founded by Gustave Peterson, while the the Missoula Ice and Cold Storage Company was founded by Charles A. Martinson. Both men were part of a thriving Scandinavian community in Missoula that dates back to the turn of the century. Below is an photograph of an ice cutter working for Missoula Ice and Cold Storage and excerpt from the articles of incorporation for Christ's Independent Church for Scandinavians. The later document dates back to 1894.



Sam Pramenko was an Anaconda grocery store owner who emigrated from Serbia in 1871. Pramenko became an established member of the community, including a cordial relationship with Marcus Daly, the owner of the Anaconda Mining Company. While Pramenko's business thrived in the late-1800s, Pramenko was forced out of business due to debt accumulated during the shutdown of the town's smelters in 1907-1908. Below is a page from Pramenko's ledger with a list of names illustrating the ethnic makeup of Anaconda at the time. Also pictured is the account for one of the people listed.