MISSOULA – The homecoming celebration is continuing at the University of Montana this week.
Volunteers and student-athletes took to Mount Sentinel on Wednesday to give the iconic ‘M’ a fresh coat of paint.
It’s been years since the M last got a good paint job and folks hiked up the switchbacks to paint with supplies donated by Roddapaint in Missoula.
The current 125-by-100 foot concrete “M” was built at a cost of $4,000 in 1968 and sits 620 feet above the Missoula Valley.
The M has taken many forms over the years with the first incarnation being built in 1908 from whitewashed rocks –and it was much smaller than what’s seen today.
Volunteers packed paint cans and rolled it across the face of the monument for hours with one volunteer telling MTN News that he was proud to be a part of this special day.
“You know, it’s a figment of our community. You can see it everywhere you are. I live in the center of town so every morning I wake up and I watch the sunrise through Hellgate and I see the M, so now I’ll be able to say it’s nice and fresh,” David Knudson said.
One neat thing happened during Wednesday’s event — a professor mixed actual grizzly bear hair with paint so that the Spirit of the Grizzlies will live on at the M.
Reporting by Augusta McDonnell for MTN News