Historical Journey through Town

close upIt was a bright, beautiful fall day! It was also my birthday. On a whim, I decided that I wanted to go on a photo run and take pictures of some of the houses in my neighborhood. I live in an area where there are numerous historical homes. I was sure that my legs would give out way before I had a chance to take a zillion pictures within the vicinity. Trust me, I am in excellent health. In truth, there are many beautifully preserved pre-1900 mansions. Many of the homes bear a fascinating history I’ve yet to discover. I don’t know about you, but I love a good story, especially when it involves folktales and mystery. The most famous homestead close to me is the Conrad Mansion. But that story is not in this particular quest. So my daughter, granddaughter, and I set off on a wild journey to explore the neighborhood. Oh, I didn’t mention that an old timer said this town has many hidden underground tunnels and secret passageways. I am really not sure if they exist or where they are, but I will find them and keep you posted on my discoveries!

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A Little History stone fence

The town site was platted in the spring of 1891 and served as the division point for the Great Northern Railway. Although the glorious railroad days were short lived, the town was well establish as a trade and financial center in the northwest. In fact, in 1893 the young town was chosen to be the county seat. Many services were established such as banks, a hospital, government and state agencies, a library, several schools, numerous churches, lodge halls and even an opera house. And that’s not all; there were large manufactures like a brewery and various flour mills. Moreover, the town was considered the national “Gateway to Glacier Park” after the park was created in 1910. So yes, this town flourished in its glory for many moons. You can image the homes and mansions that were built when times were abundant. Many of the homes have historical plats in the front entrance giving a brief detail of its history. Like a fool, I didn’t think to write down basic history info of the houses that intrigued me. I suppose I could back track another time to fill you in on these beautiful homesteads. There we are again, another story to tell in the future. FYI, there are 143 properties and districts listed on the National Register of Historical Places in Flathead County.

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conrad mansionConrad Mansion There are so many picture of this beautiful historical mansion. So I decided to take pictures of the side and back entryway just for varieties sake. The Conrad Mansion was completed in 1895. The house was designed by Spokane architect Kirkland K. Cutter who highlights the mansion with arches, long gables, bay windows and gigantic native stone chimneys.

In truth, there are eight massive sandstone fireplaces and many beautiful bay windows. Some of the windows include 11 panels of Tiffany style stained glass, diamond paned leaded glass windows featured in the majority of rooms and several main rooms with colored & clear bottle glass.

What is more, there are 26 rooms (including three bathrooms), a Music Room, a second story billiard and game room, several service and recreation rooms, nine bedrooms with their own marble sink and walk-in closet, a large kitchen, built-in fires hoses on each level and even two Italian onyx cold water drinking fountains. Wow!  What a house!

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A. J. Dean House IMG_0540 The Dean house was built in 1895. It is also known as the Halvorson Residence. The house was designed by Spokane architect Kirkland K. Cutter in a Tudor Revival style.

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This beautiful home was originally part of the stable and carriage house at the Conrad Mansion. As well, other houses nearby at 615 and 623 3rd Street East served the same purpose.

If you look closely, you’ll see the horse with a surrey (four-wheeled carriage) weather vane on the house. A total of five houses were created from the carriage house, including one at 19 Fifth Avenue and at 393 North Main Street.

 

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The Morgan House IMG_0758Designed and constructed in 1892 by the famous architect Franklin M. Morgan. Originally a prominent Queen Ann style home, owner William McDonald had the exterior remodeled in 1924. The home went from a Queen Ann style to a Colonial Revival from a cross-gabled roof to a clipped gable. Even the original floor plan was made more symmetrical with the addition of classical details like circular windows and Tuscan columns. The alteration was near complete aside from the remaining two story canted bay on the east which reveals the Queen Ann origins of this noteworthy house.

Agather House (first picture on post with bird house) This house was built in 1910 by architect Marion Riffo for the State Lumber Company manager David Barber. It features tall prominent chimneys against a steep, side-gabled roof. Exterior highlights include ornate ironwork, half-timbers and native rock. In 1919 Alfons and Martha Agather purchased the home. The home still remains in the family. IMG_0732
Kramer House (pictured above) This beautiful home is on the Montana Historical Registry. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any history about the place. However, I have to admit that there was a historical plaque near the entrance. I just couldn’t get enough nerve to enter their yard to read it. Update: Also known as the Conlon/Himsl Home IMG_0736This Georgian Revival style home was designed by architect Joseph B. Gibson in 1914 for pioneer merchant James Conlon. Mr. Conlon built the home for his wife, Mary. On the side street off Main, he owned a livery stable and mercantile.

The stunning home has a stylish circular entry, ornamental railings, dentils and brackets at the eaves and corner quoins that accentuate the extensive face of a building. It is a well preserved mansion house with three fireplaces, balconied portico, ample polished mahogany woodwork, sliding doors with leaded glass and a divine interior that features state-of-the-art furnishings like a dining room radiator with a built-in food warmer, a butler/maid buzzing system with pop-up numbers for the room service, a built-in vacuum system and a hall seat used as a dumbwaiter. In 1945, retired North Dakota banker B. M. Wohlwend bought the property in for his daughter, Lois and wife, Jennie. Lois married Senator Matt Himsl and had five children. Both families lived in the home for numerous of years. When Lois had her 5th child the Wohlwends moved to a home close by. Several neighbors have called this striking home the “Embassy” for its attractive grace, warm interior and amiable owners. The Himsl home was put up for sale in 2007. However, in memory of the past owners, a large angel is placed under the portico every Christmas.

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 Warren A. Conrad / Noffsinger Residence IMG_0728 This is a colonial type mansion that reflects the Queen Ann style with small gabled front dormers at the front of the house and amazing symmetry. The use of brick is also apparent and well crafted. Additionally, there is Queen-Anne flair with patterned shingles and a turret at the side of the house. Let’s not forget about the wrap-around porch and stained-glass windows. Just plain gorgeous! In 1894, rancher and businessman J. L. Cox designed and supervised construction of the two-story brick home. However, Warren Ashby Conrad bought the home in 1896 as a gift for his newlywed wife Caroline Green.   IMG_0726The Conrad’s were more than likely quite comfortable in their mansion. The home had many pleasant features and modern conveniences of the day. The house was generally not empty except at times during the summers. Ashby, Caroline and the Conrad family (older brothers Charles and William Conrad)  had summer cottages on Hawksnest Island on Foys Lake. From 1922 until 1929, the widow Miss Caroline Conrad rented the house out after Ashby’s death. In 1929, George Noffsinger, manager of Glacier National Park Saddle Horse Company, bought the home. The Noffsinger family continued to live in the beautiful home until 1944.

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More Historical Houses with History to Come   IMG_0742 ~~~~ IMG_0743 ~~~~ IMG_0756

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