Wednesday, April 2, 2014


The original post contained some very beautiful "mansions" on the east side of Kalispell.  In 2011, I never finished the "Part II" of the article.  While these homes are smaller in stature, they are BIG in history.  Again, most of this text came from the historical plagues. 


I put this house first, even though it was probably built last of the houses in this post.  It is very "unique" and I've not seen another home like it in Kalispell.  The Graham House is also on the NATIONAL Registry.

Graham House
Wilbur and Celeste Graham built this hallmark Art Moderne style home in 1942.  The style took it's look from the modern means of transport that had captured the popular imagination of the 1930's.  While the Depression had taken it's toll on the countries economic life, Americans were still proud of their technical prowess.  In an expression of determined optimism, commerical and architectural design of the era imitated the sleek curves and smooth surfaces that gave cars and airplanes their aerodynamic advantage.  The chic, stripped-down style also had the benefit of being relatively inexpensive to build.  Favored by architects, Art Moderne had less of a popular following than more familiar looking styles, making examples relative rare in Montana.  

A building contractor, Wilbur designed this home for himself, including the extra long garage that provided space for his office.  Perhaps his profession gave him an advantage in finding construction materials, which were scarce during the war years; this is one of the few Kalispell residences built during World War II.  

The Graham house features many of the elements that characterize the Art Moderne style:  a flat roof with a ledge at the roof line, stucco siding, rounded corners, metal sash windows flush with the wall, and a circular window in the front door (reminiscent of a ship's porthole).  Chrome door handles, hinges, and cabinet pulls continued the modern look in the interior.  The Graham's, who never tired of their stylish home, both lived here until their deaths, his in 1958, and hers in 2001.  


There were very few homes in the neighborhood when the Reverend O. W. Mintzer built this cross-gabled Queen Anne style landmark in 1894.  Although brick was readily available, it's wood construction illustrates the local preference of the period.  Rich details including 
stained glass, an ornate screen door, and  decorative
Brintnall House
scrollwork complement the typical Queen Anne asymmetry.  

By the turn of the century, American Steam Laundry proprietor Frederick French lived in the home with his family and eight boarders.  The Frenches advertised their rooms as having electric light, water, and an additional amenity:  laundry service.  

Chester Brintnall owned the home by 1923 when he leased it to Montana author Frank Bird Linderman.  Linderman went into the hotel business to finance his writing career and lived here in the 1920's while he was the successful proprietor of the Kalispell Hotel.  A Kalispell school bears Lindermans name.  Brintnall, who helped establish Kalispell's rural delivery routes and later became assistant postmaster, lived here from 1927 to 1952.


M.C. Conley, general contractor for the Conrad Mansion, constructed the gable roofed residence that Arthur Pearmain, the Conrad Mansion's supervising architect, designed for this lot in 1895.  Like many Kalispell homes of the era, the wooden home used locally quarried gray-blue argillite for the foundation.  
McKeown/Braunberger House
With six large rooms and an indoor bathroom, the "neat building" housed bank clerk George Phillips, his wife Annie, their two sons, and a housemaid in 1900.  Although a 1907 newspaper account described the home as "one of the prettiest and most comfortable residences on the townsite", architectural fashion continued to evolve.

Around 1920, William and Grace McKeown, added a large addition and transformed the residence's appearance by affixing Colonial Revival style detailing, including grambrel-roof front facade and colonial chimney and fireplace.  Constructed between 1910 and 1927, the gambrel-roof garage also helped the nineteenth-century adapt to twentieth-century requirements.

Watchmaker A. J. Braunberger and his wife Margaret purchased the residence in 1923 and nurtured the catalpa trees that still mark the Fifth Street property line.  The home remained in the Braunberger family until 1962.  


While the Baldwin house is not the most impressive on the outside, it was one of the first homes to be built in Kalispell by Marcus D. Baldwin and it stayed in the family for over 80 years.

Baldwin came to Montana from Ohio in 1885, appointed by President Cleveland as superintendent to the Blackfoot, Blood, and Piegan bands of the Blackfeet tribe in northwestern Montana.  Baldwin brought his wife, Sarah, and their two small sons to live at the agency on Badger Creek.  Baldwin's daughter was the first white child born on
Baldwin House
Montana's Blackfoot Reservation in 1888.  When the tribal elders first saw her, they exclaimed “Kokoa!”(which means “little girl” in the Blackfeet language) and that became her name.

Kokoa was named by the prominent tribal members Two Guns White Calf, Little Dog, Big Nose, and Little Plume, who are all historical figures. Perhaps the most well-known of the Native Americans who named Kokoa is Chief Two Guns White Calf, whose face is on the back of every “Indian Head” nickel.

Baldwin, who deserves partial credit for the founding of Marias Pass, moved to Kalispell when the town was platted in 1891.  He was a practicing attorney and prominent in the founding of Kalispell and Flathead County.  

The original brick front-gabled residence was built between 1891 and 1894 and the carriage house along the alley between 1899 and 1903.  Circa 1914, remodeling added a wood-frame second story and gambrel roof.  Many fruit trees once graced the spacious yard of this significant residence, which remained in the Baldwin family until 1973.  


Joseph H. Horn, a part-owner in the Kalispell Mercantile Company, built this fine brick home in 1897.  In 1905, he sold the property to Everit Sliter, the founder of the town of Bigfork, Montana.  Sliter had come to the Flathead Valley in 1889.  Having spent all his money on the purchase of land, he and his dog spent that winter in a root cellar.  The pair consumed 26 deer and Sliter traded the skins for other staples.  He later established one of the area's 
first orchards.
Sliter House

Before Sliter and his wife, Lizzie, moved to Kalispell, they briefly rented the home to architect Joseph Gibson and his bride, Effie.  When Sliter moved here circa 1908, he essentially traded places with Horn who took over operation of Sliter's hotel and general store in Bigfork.  From 1909 to 1917, Sliter operated a real estate business from the home.  

A truncated hipped roof, exceptional brickwork, gently arched windows, and decorative shinglework make this an outstanding example of late Victorian-era vernacular architecture and a primary element of the historic neighborhood.  Note:  Vernacular architecture is a term used to categorize architectural design which uses locally available resources and traditions to address local building and design needs.  Vernacular architecture tends to develop over time to reflect the environment, cultural, and historic context in which it exists. 

and design needs. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve over time to reflect the environmental, cultural and historical context in which it exists - See more at:
and design needs. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve over time to reflect the environmental, cultural and historical context in which it exists - See more at:


The owner and publisher of the Inter Lake, a weekly newspaper servicing the Flathead Valley, was the original owner of this prominent corner residence.  Robert M. Goshorn, his wife Alice, and their two children moved into the new home in 1900.  In 1907, their son Joseph, a Stanford University student, drowned along with two other Kalispell youths in a 
Goshorn House
canoeing accident near Seattle.  Robert and Alice Goshorn determined to stay busy, converting their weekly publication to a daily newspaper.  They sold the business in 1912, but it remains today the Daily Inter Lake.  Goshorn subsequently served as receiver (under the Taft administration) and as register (under the Harding administration) of the U.S. Land Office at Kalispell.

The couple also maintained a ranch and fruit orchard on Flathead Lake.  Their vintage Kalispell home features bay windows, diamond-shaped window panes, two porches, decorative shinglework, and partial shingle cladding, hallmarks of both the Queen Anne and Shingle styles.  A smorgasbord of surface textures -- clapboard, rough-cut stone, and shingles -- beautifully expresses Victorian-era taste.  Inside, a handsome staircase showcases highly skilled carpentry.


George Drew Residence
Love the porch on this house!!

Kalispell was only 2 years old when German immigrant Louise Sels and her son Ed had this cross-gabled Queen Anne style residence built in 1892, a year that saw over a hundred homes built in the new town.  Louise Sels soon sold the house to her son-in-law Arthur Burnes, but according to the 1900 census, she continued to live in the home with her extended family.  The household included her three grown children, granddaughter, son-in-law, and his mother.  

Josephine Richards and Ella Bel owned the house between 1902 and 1905, renting out "nice large front rooms" to gentlemen.  The distinctive horseshoe-shaped porch was added between 1903 and 1907.  The home's longest occupant, Maude Drew, lived here between 1905 until her death in 1959 at the age of 89.  A year after she and her husband George bought the house in 1905, they installed a brick sidewalk.  The local newspaper lauded this improvement over the standard wood sidewalks and predicted, "Other property owners will note the manner in which the walk wears with much interest."  


I do love Craftsman Style homes -- this is one of my favorites.  

Shed dormers, exposed rafter tails, wide eaves supported by brackets, a flared chimney, and a full-width front porch mark this circa 1913 home as a Craftsman Style residence.  Native rock and molded concrete ornament the full basement.  Interior features include built-in cabinets with leaded glass doors in the living and dining rooms, a fireplace of Kalispell brick, and walk-in closets (all but one with windows that open).  
Ernest M. Child Residence
The house was likely constructed for Frank Johnson, a cashier at the Conrad National Bank, who owned the residence until 1918.  Ernest and Helen Child lived here from 1920 until Ernest's death in 1941.  Born in DeKalb, New York, Ernest was a prominent attorney who arrived in the Flathead Valley from Wisconsin in 1905.  Helen, a Minnesota native, was called a "singer of note" at the time of their marriage in 1906.  During the Child's occupancy, the exterior was elegantly landscaped.  In 1936, the Kalispell News published a detailed description of the yard, which it called "the beautiful garden of another 'Home Beautiful'."


Carpenter William Williscroft owned, and possibly built, this one-story, hipped roof cottage between 1891 and 1897.  He likely intended it as an investment property because by 1900 renters occupied the house.
Webert House

Sometime after 1950, owners replaced the full length front porch, stuccoed the original brick veneer, and exchanged the original one-and-one half story alley apartment for a two-car garage.  Otherwise, the home looks pretty much as it did at the end of the nineteenth century.  

Peter and Rena Weberg bought the home in 1906.  The couple had arrived in Kalispell in 1898 and raised three children here, occasionally renting out a room "for the summer only", perhaps to tourists attracted to the area by Glacier National Park.  In 1916, Peter became city treasurer.  He was re-elected to that position for 29 years until his death at age 85.  Rena was an early member and president of the Ladies Aid of Bethlehem Lutheran Church and an active member of the Republican Women's Club.  She made her home here until 3 years before her death in 1966 at age 93.  


The Hockaday Museum of Art displays the art and culture of Montana with an emphasis on the artists of Glacier National Park.  The museum maintains a permanent collection and offers rotating exhibits by nationally renowned and emerging artists, in addition to a permanent exhibit of Glacier National Park art and culture.  A Discovery Gallery provides hands-on activities for children that change along with the rotating Exhibits.
Hockaday Museum of Art

The Hockaday Museum is housed in a turn-of-the-century Carnegie Library Building that is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.  The more than 100-year-old building, now handicapped accessible, has undergone significant renovations to create a sophisticated museum setting while retaining the building's historic beauty.

In 1967, the Flathead Branch of the Montana Institute of the Arts explored the need for a community art center in the Flathead Valley.  Area residents responded enthusiastically, and on February 10, 1969, the Flathead Valley Art Association opened the Hockaday Center for the Arts as a community art center in the Carnegie Library building.

The art center was named for Lakeside artist Hugh Hockaday (1892-1968), who had moved to the Flathead Valley after a successful career as a commerical artist, and who passed away during the conversion of the Carnegie Library to an art center.  In 1998, the Hockaday Center changed its name to the Hockaday Museum of Art to reflect its new focus as a museum.  


From the very inception of the frontier hotel business, there emerged in the Flathead Valley a hotel known for it's finer amenities, the Kalispell Hotel.  In 1912 the Kalispell Hotel hosted the relatively well-to-do traveler at a charge of $2 per night.  This was considered twice the going rate of other hotels at this time.  However, being situated in the heart of Kalispell's downtown business district and offering such privileged services as running water, door locks, and wake-ups, the Kalispell Hotel rarely hung out its vacancy sign.  The three story brick structure, designed by Kalispell architect Marion Riffo and built by local contractor B. Brice Gilliland, has stood through the years as a silent sentinel to the changes in the Flathead Valley and downtown Kalispell.  During World War I information about the war was shouted to crowds of people at the corner of First and Main.  In 1919, the City of Kalispell installed a water fountain on the corner where the hotel still stands.  The fountain emphasized the importance of the First and Main intersection.  On weekend nights, the Opera House crowd would gather around the fountain and frequent the Hotel lobby.

Modern Kalispell Grand Hotel

Frank Bird Linderman, a noted writer, leased and managed the hotel from 1924 to 1926.  Famed artist Charlie Russell and author. Irvin S. Cobb were good friends of Linderman.  On occasion, they took lunch together and then would saunter back to the hotel lobby's stuffed leather chairs where they would sit exchanging thoughts and stories of the West.  

Linderman, who lived the life of a true plainsman, migrated up the Missouri and continued overland to settle in Kalispell.  He later wrote books and novels that are eagerly sought after by book collectors across the country.  Charlie Russell's work is world-renowned and today, found only in the finest art galleries.

Through the years a number of individuals have owned the hotel.  In the 1930's the hotel owners planned extensive renovations including the addition of a fourth floor and what would have been Kalispell's first passenger elevator.  These renovations never occurred; however, between 1939 and 1941 the interior of the Kalispell Hotel was remodeled.  According to a contemporary newspaper description: "....The modern hotel room of today has to be definitely different than that of some few years ago, as most of the traveling public of today carry radios and electric razors in its luggage, and demands box springs and inner spring mattresses for sleeping comfort.  An entirely new plan of interior decoration has been carried out that is highly attractive to the eyes and gives the guest who steps within its hospitable doors an immediate feeling of physical well being and luxury as well as appealing to his aesthetic sense."  
Current Kalispell Grand Hotel

During more recent decades the hotel fell on hard times and was reduced to taking in weekly, monthly, and even hourly tenants.  In 1989 a major renovation began that brought the hotel back to vibrant life.  The 51 "bath down the hall" rooms that had rented for $120 to $150 per month, were transformed into 40 rooms with private baths.  

The hotel reopened to guests in 1991 while renovation of the lobby continued.  Today, the sweep of the original lobby can be seen, including the original oak stairway and the high, pressed-tin ceiling.

Early in Kalispell's history there were eight downtown hotels.  Today only one remains -- the Kalispell Grand Hotel.  Inside the gracious lobby, the Kalispell Grand still awaits its guests who can readily envision the life and history of a bygone era.  The Kalispell Grand Hotel -- a living landmark in downtown Kalispell. 

1 comment:

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