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Monument to the 1904 World Champions.

Monument to World's Greatest Girls Basketball Team of 1904

Field review by the editors.

Fort Shaw, Montana

In 1904 the sport of basketball was barely a dozen years old. But the girls' team at the Fort Shaw Industrial Indian Boarding School was very good at it. The principal decided that they would make a good attraction that year at the World's Fair in St. Louis.

The girls not only played basketball at the Fair, they also gave weekly literary programs, musical recitals, and interpretive dances (not Indian dances). But it was basketball that made them famous. Their ability (coupled with a lack of worthy competition) left them undefeated. When they won a best-of-three game series against a team named the Missouri All-Stars, they were given a big silver cup that declared them World's Fair Champions.

The monument -- a big block of granite topped by a bronze basketball -- was erected a hundred years later, on an empty plot of ground (the school closed in 1910), after a PBS documentary triggered renewed interest. A big arch proudly announces that the team was 1904 World Champions, and they probably were, although technically they were only the champions of the St. Louis World's Fair.

Fort Shaw Indian School World Champions.

Monument to World's Greatest Girls Basketball Team of 1904

Old Fort Shaw Rd, Fort Shaw, MT
Fort Shaw, about 20 miles west of Great Falls via Montana Hwy 200. A half-mile northwest of town, next to the elementary school.
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