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Five Montana Sites Recommended for National Register Inclusion

Coal and Ice Building

Five properties across Montana are being nominated for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Properties. All five nominations were recommended for forwarding by the governor-appointed Montana Historic Preservation Review Board. The volunteer board is part of the State Historic Preservation Office.

Recommendations include:

  • A five-mile stretch of scenic highway that used to be part of the Yellowstone Trail in Silver Bow County known as the Harding Way Historic District near Pipestone Pass. With its steep switchbacks and small pullout areas, it represents the transition from wagons to automobiles in the 1920s, and provided a needed link between Butte and Whitehall.
  • A long-term Queen Anne style duplex rental not included in the original Butte-Anaconda Historic District due to a documentation error. Built around 1895, the handsome Victorian building was home to a wide variety of Butte’s population, some staying for several decades.
  • The century-old Crystal Ice & Fuel Company Building in downtown Billings, which historically supplied both fire (coal) and ice to area residents and businesses. Even with recent renovations, the building is a throwback to the days of charitable coal donations to the poor; threats of Teamster strikes; and offers of free ice to Spanish Flu victims. The building also hosted a number of different businesses since its original use by the Crystal Ice & Fuel Company.
  • The Northern Montana College Girls Residence Hall on the Montana State University-Northern Campus in Havre. Construction of the building showed the college’s serious intent to provide quality higher education along Montana’s northern tier. It stands as an example of the Depression-era Public Works Administration program and designed by prominent Havre architect Frank Bossuot.
  • And the colorful, sometimes notorious three-story Baatz Block, housed a former tavern/cabaret, hotel and apartments. Built in 1913 for $40,000, the structure is one block south of the Great Falls Central Business Historic District.

To say that the Baatz Block experienced a colorful past proves an understatement,” MT State Historic Preservation Office National Register Coordinator John Boughton and Homeword’s Julie Stiteler wrote in the nominating document. “Not long after the completion of the Baatz Block, several businesses, predominantly the hotel and bar, garnered law enforcement attention for liquor violations and solicitation, a trend that dogged the businesses and some residents of the building for years. Within months of the building’s opening, the Great Falls Tribune reported the arrest of three gentlemen in a gambling raid in the Baatz Saloon. This incident served merely as a harbinger to a myriad of unwanted attention focused upon the building.” Extra50Plus

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