Montana Building - Lewistown, MT
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 47° 03.935 W 109° 25.555
12T E 619522 N 5213653
Quick Description: Essentially the cornerstone building of the Lewistown Central Business Historic District, though it came later than the majority of the buildings in the district, the Montana Building is the largest, at six stories, and the most elegant.
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 2/26/2018 12:50:49 AM
Waymark Code: WMXTQB
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 0

Long Description:
Built by a consortium of Lewistown's best and brightest businessmen, the Montana Building was initially home to Montana's oldest state bank, the State Bank of Fergus County, and the largest hardware company in the town, the Montana Hardware Company. As well, the building was large enough to house the offices of dozens of businesses and services, including lawyers, doctors and dentists, realtors, miners - almost every endeavour was housed in the building at one time or another.

With the drought induced exodus of settlers in the early 1920s, all the banks and many of the businesses of Lewistown failed, including the Bank of Fergus County and the First National Bank. In 1924 a second First National Bank was established, taking up offices on the ground floor of the Montana Building alongside the Montana Hardware Company. When the latter moved out in 1960 the bank took over the entire ground floor. It remains there to this day, under the name of the First Bank of Montana.

The beautiful Renaissance Revival building was a design of renowned architects Link & Haire, very representative of their interpretation of Renaissance Revival design. From top to bottom it sports a great deal of white terra cotta. Across the front are eight fluted pilasters with their Corinthian-like capitals at the fifth floor, with a corbelled cornice above, topped by a line of moulded terra cotta. One storey, at the cornice proper, is, first, a line of dentils, then moulded modillions and another line of mounded terra cotta topping the overhanging cornice. The entire face is covered with terra cotta, giving the appearance of white marble, with many panels having mouldings inset. Much of the terra cotta decoration takes the form of foliage and flowers, with egg and dart mouldings covering some of the horizontal lines of terra cotta. Over the main entrance is a hanging canopy, supported by double sets of cables and having the buildings sole Romanesque window above it.

Montana Building The elaborate six-story brick and terra cotta structure stands as a visible sign of the stability and prosperity of Lewis town in 1916 and as the "architectural anchor" of the central business district.

It was conceived in a grand manner by a corporation of local businessmen in expectation of the continued growth of the community. The Montana Hardware Co. was organized in 1892 by George J. Wiedeman, with John W. Power, President; A. W. Warr, Vice President and Secretary. The list of stockholders included Thomas C. Power and Mrs. N. M. Erickson. The Lewistown Commercial Co. organized in 1898, with L. W. Eldridge, President; A. W. Stoddard, Secretary and Treasurer; and Richard A. Hanke, Manager and Vice President. The success of these pioneer business ventures is reflected in the Montana Building, which originally housed the Bank of Fergus County and the Montana Hardware Co.

The Montana Building, which is a good example of the preferred construction methods and materials of the period, was designed by J. G. Link and C. S. Haire. Local droughts and the great depression combined to cause a period of difficulty for the building and the County eventually assumed part ownership in lieu of taxes. All of the banks in Lewistown were closed by the early part of 1924. The First National Bank, which was organized December 13, 1924, remains in the Montana Building. In 1960, when the Montana Hardware Co. moved to a new location, the bank expanded and now occupies the entire ground floor.
From the NRHP Nomination Form, Site# 148


This elaborate six-story brick structure represents a visible sign of the stability and prosperity in Lewistown in 1916 and stands as the architectural anchor of the Central Business District. The construction of this mixed Neoclassical and Revival style building signaled the end of the town’s greatest period of growth. Designed by J. G. Link and C. S. Haire, the building reflects the construction methods and materials of the period, reinforced by the stunning white terra cotta Beaux Arts style façade. The Montana Building originally housed the Bank of Fergus County and the Montana Hardware Company. Drought and depression created a period of anxiety for building owners and the county eventually acquired partial ownership in lieu of taxes. A massive homestead exodus in 1924 led to the bank’s closure. In response, the First National Bank was established and opened in the building in December 1924. Montana Hardware relocated in 1960 and the bank expanded to occupy the entire first floor. The Montana Building is an excellent example of this period and a monument to the community’s optimism.
From the NRHP plaque at the building

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Artist: Link & Haire Architects

222 West Main Street Lewistown, MT 59457

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