Bozeman Armory - Bozeman, MT
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 45° 40.814 W 111° 02.281
12T E 497039 N 5058520
The Bozeman Armory was one of a great many built in the U.S. as an immediate response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941, "A day which will live in infamy".
Waymark Code: WMW5BM
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 07/11/2017
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 1

Costing $137,661, the 128'x 108' reinforced concrete building, with full basement, was begun almost immediately after the attack and dedicated in 1942. It was built as the home for the Bozeman National Guard units of Montana's 163rd Infantry which, at the time, was overseas in combat. The building is one of three in the city with a direct association with World War II.

Designed by Bozeman's most prolific architect of the time, Fred F. Willson, he chose Art Deco for the building's design. The building was funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), probably the final WPA project to be constructed in Bozeman.

Long unused and empty, the armory's windows have been boarded up for some time. Several years ago the building was purchased by a developer with the intent of incorporating it into an eight storey full-service hotel complex. Stalled for several years, as of 2016 the project appeared as though it may still go ahead, though at that time financing was not yet fully in place.
Bozeman Armory

The Bozeman Armory is of exceptional significance as one of only a few examples of the Art Deco style in Bozeman, and one of only three buildings directly associated with World War II. Like virtually all major, architect-designed buildings in the city, this one was designed by Fred F. Willson - Bozeman's prolific local architect whose career spanned from 1910-1956.

The armory was built as part of a nationwide response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Barber. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle commented in 1942, just before the building was dedicated: "At least this spacious, $137,661 reinforced, monolithic, concrete structure of modern and functional design represents this community's resolve that never again shall our nation be caught off-guard and ill-prepared to meet the enemies of democracy."

The building was constructed as a WPA project, sponsored by the Montana Armory Board, as the home for the Bozeman National Guard units of Montana's 163rd Infantry, which was in combat at the time of construction. It was one of six built in Montana, the construction of which were announced by the state legislature in 1940.

Built to the specifications of the War Department, the 128'x 108' armory, which was to provide "up-to-the-minute" protection, contained several novel features. Among the National Guard facilities were a maple block drill floor running the full width of the building, capable of accommodating military trucks as well. The blocks were laid in contrasting patterns, with no nails or glue. In the basement was a rifle range. A sound proof music room was built for the 163rd Infantry Regimental Band, and general facilities such as offices, lounges, and an officers' club were also included. Public facilities such as a Chamber of Commerce Room, meeting rooms and lounges were also included. The design originated with the Armory Board's Architects, Hugenin & Associates, whose resident architect was Fred Willson, and WPA Engineers.
From the NRHP Architectural Inventory
Street address:
24 W. Mendenhall Street
Bozeman, MT United States

County / Borough / Parish: Gallatin County

Year listed: 1987

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Politics/Government, Architecture

Periods of significance: 1925-1949

Historic function: Defense - Arms Storage

Current function: Vacant

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 2: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: 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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