Montana August 08, 2018
The Stories Behind These 6 Historic Homes In Montana Will Blow Your Mind
Have you ever driven past an old house and wondered who used to live there and what life used to be like inside those walls? We treasure our local history here in the Last Best Place, so some of our historic homes have been turned into museums, while others remain a mystery. The stories behind these homes might surprise you.
1. The Story Mansion in Bozeman
Thomas Byron Story built the Story Mansion in Bozeman, but it was actually his father’s businesses that made it possible. He was a was a pioneering cattleman who became one of the richest men in Montana. Thomas was a bookkeeper for his father's business, eventually working his way up to President. He and his wife had four children, and on the day they moved into the mansion, they had another baby girl. The city of Bozeman now owns the home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, but it was a loving home to the family for many years, and it was even a fraternity house for MSU for awhile.
2. This Billings gem that's more than it seems
This home on Smokey Lane once belonged to well known cowboy artist and writer Will James, best known for writing Smoky the Cowhorse, which James wrote and illustrated inside these walls.
3. The original Governor's Mansion in Helena
Believe it or not, this solid structure was built in 1888. William Chessman, a local entrepreneur, had it built as a symbol of wealth and status, which makes sense since Helena once had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the country. The State of Montana acquired the home in 1913 for their governors to use, and it's now open for tours administered by the Montana Historical Society.
4. Kalispell's Conrad Museum
Charles Conrad, who played an important role in the settlement of the Northwest during the late 1800s, had this magnificent mansion built. Charles and his brother established a shipping and freight empire in Fort Benton that eventually became the most important transportation center in Montana. The mansion was always owned by the Conrad family, but eventually Charles’ youngest daughter Alicia could no longer afford to maintain it. She generously gifted the house to the city in the 1970s, and it became a museum.
5. The beautiful Moss Mansion in Billings
The Moss Mansion was built in 1903 by Preston Boyd Moss, who hired the architect behind the Waldorf Astoria and Plaza Hotels. The Moss family lived here for decades, and from the sounds of it, they were a very close family. Tragically, they lost their youngest daughter, a sweet, happy girl named Virginia, to diphtheria at the age of five. The remaining five children grew up in the mansion, some living there well into adulthood. It's now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has made appearances in several films.
6. The Clark Chateau in Butte
This was once the home of Charles and Katherine Clark, Charles being the eldest son of Copper King W.A. Clark. It was built in 1899, and its most notable resident was none other than U.S. Senator James Murray, his wife Viola, and their children. It spent some time as the Butte College of Music and the Shriner's Fez Club before becoming the museum it is now.
Montana is the perfect state for history buffs. Did you know
these fascinating facts about the Treasure State’s past?