Trask Hall - Deer Lodge, MT
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 46° 23.675 W 112° 43.859
12T E 366922 N 5139345
Quick Description: Constructed in 1878, Trask Hall was the first building of Montana's first postsecondary school. It was later renamed after benefactor Alanson Trask. Closed in 1900, the school reopened in 1906 and closed forever in 1917.
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 5/17/2014 11:30:22 AM
Waymark Code: WMKQJ5
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 1

Long Description:
Eleven years before statehood, Deer Lodge became home to Montana’s first postsecondary school: the Montana Collegiate Institute. The nonsectarian, coeducational college offered both high school classes and a classical graduating course “as comprehensive and thorough as that of most seminaries and female colleges.” Architects H. DeWitt and Henry L. Gay of Chicago designed the institute’s first building. However, the building committee stripped the design of much of its ornamentation after it received the initial construction bids. The simplified hipped-roof, two-story Trask Hall was constructed in 1878 for approximately $13,000, using locally quarried granite and bricks imported from Helena. The school folded under financial strain after only a year. Three years later, the Presbyterian Church acquired the institute and changed its name to the College of Montana. Nationally, Presbyterians saw the college as part of their campaign to civilize and Christianize the West, and a generous East Coast donor, Alanson Trask, paid the school’s remaining $6,000 debt. Trask Hall was renamed in his honor. At its peak, the college boasted 15 faculty and 160 students, housed in two dormitories. Among the faculty was Theodore Brantly, who became chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court upon statehood. The school closed in 1900, unable to compete with the new, state-funded university system. It reopened under different management in 1906 only to close for good in 1917. In 1921, School District One purchased the campus, including Trask Hall. Nevertheless, Montana’s Presbyterians continued to support higher education, ultimately uniting with other denominations to found Rocky Mountain College in Billings.
From the NRHP Plaque

Street address:
444 Montana Avenue
Deer Lodge, MT USA

County / Borough / Parish: Powell County

Year listed: 1982

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Education

Periods of significance: 1875-1899

Historic function: Education - College

Current function: Currently Vacant

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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