The Historic Stonehouse In Montana's Reeder's Alley Is Hiding Secrets From The Past
All it takes is one stroll down Helena’s Reeder’s Alley to know that it’s a special place. Located in the southwest corner of Montana’s capital city, this historic alley provides a glimpse of what life was like for Montanans in the past, particularly the lives of miners and the everyday people who came here looking for a better life. We’ve also recently discovered that this little stretch of land is harboring a few secrets.
These days, Reeder's Alley is a quiet, peaceful place, known for its centuries-old buildings. Some of those buildings are now home to offices and businesses.
This is the oldest intact piece of early Helena. In December of 2000, then Reeder's Alley owners Darrell and Kathy Gustin donated the properties to the Montana Heritage Commission. The team has done a wonderful job of preserving it.
You can walk through the alley and see history come alive, and it's fascinating.
But there's one old home in particular that has more history than most places here.
Laura and George Duchesnay bought the stone house in the early 1900s. Laura loved animals, and she soon filled the home with singing yellow canaries.
But these birds ended up having another sneakier purpose. Rumor has it that, during Prohibition, Laura would hang some of her canary cages outside the house to let people know that a new shipment of illegal liquor had arrived.
When the alley was alive with the sound of canaries singing, the locals knew it was time to party.
According to local legend, the birds' songs filled the stone house even years after Laura's death. In fact, a few visitors reported hearing their ghostly chirps many years later when the building became a restaurant.
While there's no proof that Laura was actually using her birds to sell her high-proof bootlegged liquor — nor is there proof of any ghost birds in the alley — evidence suggests that at least one of these things is true.
In 2008, when the stone house was being renovated, people discovered a pair of pits concealed beneath the floor. These secret compartments were just the right size for stashing illegal liquor.
Have you ever checked out Reeder’s Alley? If one single home can harbor so many secrets, we wonder what the other buildings would say if they could speak.
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Reeders Alley, Helena, MT 59601, USA