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Federal Reserve Bank - Helena, MT
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 46° 35.445 W 112° 02.416
12T E 420311 N 5160212
Quick Description: Completed in 1938, this was the second Federal Reserve Bank building to grace the city of Helena, the first, a victim of the 1935 earthquakes, first opened its doors in 1921.
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 11/7/2018 8:56:38 PM
Waymark Code: WMZGAF
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 0

Long Description:
The full name of the bank was the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Helena Branch. It is the only branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. This was one of 18 new banks to be authorized in 1919 by the Federal Reserve. Helena's application for a Federal Reserve bank was approved, in part because of the fact that no other important financial center was as far from a Federal Reserve bank. Itself literally sitting on gold, Helena was the financial centre of Montana, and was once touted as "The richest city, per capita, in the world". With a population of 12,377, Helena became the smallest city in the nation to have a Federal Reserve bank or branch.

That first building continued in use until 1935 when it was sufficiently damaged by the earthquakes which shook the city that summer that it had to be demolished. Montana architect George Shanley was commissioned to design its replacement, this being the result. Built as a single storey Art Moderne building, the Federal Reserve Bank building received a second storey in 1945, this one not as tall as the storey below it. It is a primary contributor to the Helena Historic District.

In 1990 a new Federal Reserve Bank building was built at Neill Avenue and Front Street, about two blocks to the north northeast, taking over the banking duties from this building.

The building was constructed in 1937-38 and served as the Federal Reserve Bank until 1990. It was originally only one story tall, the second story added in 1946.

In 1990, the new Federal Reserve Bank opened at 100 Neill Ave., on the site of the Great Northern Depot.

The former bank building on Park Ave. was purchased by John T. Betts, and remodeled in 1991 to accommodate offices on the upper and lower level, and the First Montana Title Company on the main level [which it still does]. The remodeling process was careful to preserve the character and detail of the building. Now called the Reserve Financial Center, it is still home to 4 major vaults and 34 smaller vaults throughout the building.
From the Helena History


The Helena branch of the Federal Reserve Bank opened in 1921, the result of lobbying by Norman B. Holter and other farsighted local businessmen. It distinguished Helena as the smallest town in the country to host such a bank. When the 1935 earthquakes destroyed the first structure, Montana architect George Shanley was commissioned to design a new facility. Completed in 1938 and expanded to two stories in 1945, the Art Moderne style building reflects Helena's prominence as the financial heart of the state.
From the NRHP plaque at the building
Federal Reserve Bank
Name			Address		Style		Date	Status
Fed.Reserve Bank 	400 N. Park 	International	1938	Primary
36 Federal Reserve Bank, 1989 The Federal Reserve Bank, a W.P.A. project, is a fine example of international-inspired architecture. The dignified, stately building helps mark the western boundary to the commercial district, and helps establish a strong, mid-20th century presence in the north end of the historic district. During the 1930s, the stark, institutional modernism of WPA- sponsored architecture was also a fitting reflection of the economic stagnation of the day. WPA construction projects across Montana were vitally important in fending off economic disaster during the Depression years; in Helena the Federal Reserve Bank, the National Guard Armory, and the Helena High School were important work projects providing federally-subsidized employment during this era.

Secondly, in 1921, the Federal Reserve Bank established a branch bank in downtown Helena. Local businessman Norman Holter lobbied successfully to attract a branch of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis to be established in Helena, on the grounds that it would serve a vast interior region between banks at Seattle and Minneapolis. The Helena branch of the Federal Reserve Bank served Helena's financial institutions, and the presence of the bank helped to keep many member banks in the Federal Reserve system afloat through the rocky years during the early 1920s, when effects of the homesteading bust and droughts forced many Montana banks into bankruptcy. In 1938, after earthquake damage to the original building, their decision to be in Helena was reaffirmed when they constructed a new bank building on Park Ave. Their decision was in part based on the well-developed network of rail connections to Helena from all directions. The solid, institutional presence of this building on Park Street aptly communicates the importance and centrality of that institution within the financial community of Montana. During WW-II, expansion of volume and services associated with war support efforts inspired the addition of the second floor to the building. From the NRHP Registration Form
From the NRHP Registration Form

Photo goes Here

100 Neill Avenue
Helena, MT

Year: 1938

Website: [Web Link]

Current Use of Building: Offices

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