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Preston B. Moss House - Billings, MT
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 45° 46.779 W 108° 30.932
12T E 693139 N 5072567
Quick Description: One of the, if not THE most opulent and meticulously finished residence in Billings, the Moss House is now a museum, and may be visited throughout the year.
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 3/12/2019 2:52:14 PM
Waymark Code: WM1078B
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member ZenPanda
Views: 0

Long Description:
Built for Preston B. Moss in 1901-1903, this red sandstone mansion was designed by New York architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, designer of the original Waldorf Astoria and Plaza Hotels. Exquisitely finished with unrivalled craftsmanship, the mansion was a fitting home for one of the wealthiest and most influential citizens of Billings in the early twentieth century. Located on a two acre lot, Moss Mansion has twenty-eight rooms within its three storey, sixty foot square structure. A National Historic Register building, it has also been a movie star, having been featured in more than one movie.

Occupied by members of the Moss family until the mid 80s, in 1986 operation of the mansion was taken over by the Billings Preservation Society and opened to the public as a museum, which it remains today. The furnishings and artefacts within are almost 100% original to the mansion, being one time Moss family possessions. Parts of the mansion and grounds may even be rented for weddings or other special events.


When Preston B. Moss built this red sandstone mansion in 1901-1903, it was next to a wheat field. The 28-room residence was home to Mr. and Mrs. Moss, their six children, her parents and a staff of three. Designed by New York architect R. J. Hardenbergh, whose works include the Waldorf Astoria and other hotels, the home was constructed by local firm E.H. Gagnon and decorated by W.P. Nelson Company of Chicago. Mahogany, birch, oak, ash and white pine woodwork, an onyx fire place, rose silk and gold leaf wall coverings and stained glass windows are among the luxurious finishing touches. When Preston Moss stopped in Billings (1891), the town's bustling activity convinced him to relocate here the following year. He bought into the First National Bank of Billings, and soon became one of Billings' leading entrepreneurs. One of Montana's most diversified investors, Moss, in partnership with neighbors, owned 80,000 head of sheep and several thousand head of cattle, built the Northern Hotel (1902-1904), was instrumental in building the BL&I Canal that irrigated the 40,000-acre Billings Bench (1905), and was an incorporator of the $1 million Billings Sugar Factory (1906). Moss founded the Billings Evening Journal and merged it with the Billings Gazette (1908). He operated the central steam plant (1907), organized the first automatic dial system in Montana (1907), built Billings' first meat-packing plant, and helped start Rocky Mountain College (1906). In 1941, he rebuilt the Northern Hotel following the 1940 fire.
From the historical marker at the building
In 1903, entrepreneur Preston Boyd Moss built the Moss Mansion, greatly influencing the culture of Billings, Montana.

The mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has graced the silver screen on several occasions as the perfect site for period films such as Son of the Morning Star and Return to Lonesome Dove.

Melville Moss, the middle of five siblings, resided in the home until the mid-80s and the house and its original fixtures remain intact. Modern day visitors marvel at the home’s amenities including heated indoor plumbing on each floor, an electric bell system for the servants, and an early rotary telephone among other impressive feats of technology for the period. The home represents early Billings development and culture but also interprets the inner workings of the family through various letters and other documents preserved in Moss Mansion Museum archives.

Per the family’s request, the house has been available to the public and maintained to meet the requirements of the National Historic Home Register. Through the Billings Preservation Society, the Moss Mansion has been included as a chapter in the book Great American Homes, published by Reader’s Digest; on the A&E Network program America’s Castles: The Great Frontier; and in the National Geographic Guide to America’s Great Houses.

The mission of the Billings Preservation Society, symbolized by the Moss Mansion, is to inspire, to educate and to facilitate historic and cultural preservation activities for our community and for its future generations.

Our rooms are filled with details from a bygone era, our docents and staff excited to share history, stories, and more, and our grounds are peaceful and splendid. Every visit to the Moss Mansion holds a new treasure to discover, with interesting exhibits and special events, educational tours and volunteer projects, rental opportunities for weddings and private meetings and parties, and a lovely little gift shop.
From the Moss Mansion

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