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Benson, Dr. Theodore J., House - Fromberg, MT
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 45° 23.547 W 108° 54.553
12T E 663656 N 5028674
Quick Description: Though it's certainly not obvious to the casual observer, this wood framed house is one of the more important houses in the town, primarily for who lived in it.
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 4/29/2019 6:34:30 PM
Waymark Code: WM10FM4
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member ZenPanda
Views: 0

Long Description:
A block off River Street, which serves Fromberg as Main Street, this gambrel roofed house stands beside another historic property, the Fromberg United Methodist Church. Built in 1907, the house received its gambrel roof in 1912, as well as an extension on the rear which was enlarged in 1915.

The house was, for around five decades, the home of Dr. Theodore J. Benson, who arrived in Fromberg in 1907, promptly building this house and setting up a medical practice, which continued for nearly 45 years. During much of that time, Dr. Benson was the only physician in Fromberg. Two years before his retirement in 1950 at the age of 77, the good doctor was given a parade in his honour in which marched 125 of the 3,000 babies he had delivered in his 43 years of practise in Fromberg.

As well as being a medical doctor, Dr. Benson was very civic minded, taking part in many aspects of the civics and politics of Fromberg, serving as mayor for several years, acting as trustee of the Fromberg Methodist-Episcopal Church, serving on the school board, even helping to raise money for construction of the Fromberg concrete arch bridge in 1914. Said bridge, the first reinforced concrete bridge in Montana and a National Historic Place, was replaced by a look-alike bridge in the early 2000s.

DR. THEODORE J. BENSON HOUSE

Homesteaders who came to farm the Clarks Fork Valley in the early 1900s profoundly affected Fromberg’s growth, adding to its population and elevating its status as a regional trade and shipping center. Dr. Ted Benson, a recent graduate of the University of Minneapolis, saw Fromberg’s potential. In 1907, Dr. Benson set up practice in a two-room building (now relocated) adjacent to his newly constructed, one-story home. Expansion in 1912 added a second story and rear addition to the home, which was again enlarged in 1915. The front-facing gambrel roof with continuous dormers, wide eaves with decorative rafter and purlin tails, and a full-length front porch (enclosed circa 1927) characterize this architecturally sophisticated Colonial Revival style residence built by Edgar J. Schofield. A gable-roofed horse barn built in 1907 was enlarged in 1912 to accommodate the doctor’s Ford runabout. Two years before his retirement in 1950, Fromberg celebrated Dr. Benson’s seventy-fifth birthday, honoring him with a parade of 125 of “Doc’s babies,” a mere fraction of the some three thousand children the doctor delivered during his long practice. This attractive home today is a Fromberg landmark, representing the town’s early years and a tribute to a pioneer who served his adopted community long and well.
From the NRHP plaque at the building
Benson House
This house was originally constructed in 1907 as a one-story dwelling for the town's first doctor, Theodore J. Benson. It was enlarged with a second story and a major rear addition in 1912.

The Dr. Theodore J. Benson House derives significance under Criterion B as the best representation of Benson's contributions to the town of Fromberg. Trained in Minnesota, Dr. Benson came to Montana at the urging of a fellow doctor practicing in the nearby town of Bridger. Benson opened his medical practice in Fromberg in 1907 and established a small office [recently moved] adjacent to his house. Benson served the medical needs of the community for the next 45 years and except for a few years in the early 1920s was the only doctor in town. Benson also contributed to the town's civic development. He served on the school board, was a trustee of the Fromberg Methodist-Episcopal Church, acted as the town's mayor in the mid 1910s, and helped to raise necessary funds for construction of the Fromberg concrete arch bridge in 1914.

The Dr. Theodore J. Benson House is eligible for listing in the National Register for its association with the growth and emergence of Fromberg; and for its association with Dr. Theodore J. Benson, the town's leading physician for 45 years and an important civic leader. The house has sustained few alterations and retains integrity in all aspects.

The Dr. Theodore J. Benson House derives significance as a representation of Fromberg's rise as an important retail trade and shipping center for the surrounding agricultural region in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Fromberg's increasing prosperity and population growth stimulated constructed of many new houses. They included several large, architecturally sophisticated houses, such as this one, that were constructed for Fromberg's emerging upper class of businessmen and professionals.
From the NRHP Registration Fprm

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