After the U.S. military established Camp Cooke west of the Judith River in 1866, Fort Benton merchant Thomas C. Power built a trading post nearby to supply soldiers and area Indians. When Camp Cooke closed in 1870, Power renamed the post Fort…

The Elling, Knight & Buford hardware store, located in the Masonic Temple, built this warehouse in July 1901. Although seemingly mundane, such storage buildings were essential to keeping Virginia City residents supplied with consumer goods. Even…

Thomas Tootle and Richard Leach formed a partnership, operating with various other partners in mercantile stores in Denver, Kansas City, here in Virginia City, and later in Deer Lodge. Tootle and Leach was one of Virginia City’s first businesses,…

Rail transportation in the early twentieth century brought homesteaders to Fergus and cemented Lewistown’s role as a regional commercial center. The General Brokerage Company of Grand Rapids, North Dakota, financed this stunning warehouse for the…

Billings, located halfway between Minneapolis and Spokane, boasted railroads running in seven directions by 1916. Quantities of freight arrived each day from points east, and large warehouses lined the tracks, filled with goods awaiting resale.…

In the 1910s, Billings promoted itself as the capital of the “Midland Empire.” That economic domain covered thirty thousand square miles and boasted hundreds of communities that relied on Billings for supplies. No wonder Helena-based distributor…

National cigar and tobacco wholesaler Louis Cohn occupied this two-story brick building, constructed in 1919. Cohn was one of three wholesalers supplying Billings’ five cigar manufacturers with tobacco. In 1923, the building became home to Harry…

In 1906, the Northern Pacific Railroad moved its central railroad transfer point from Billings to Laurel. The move opened new tracts of land for development along the railroad right-of-way. These lots had the advantage of bordering both the tracks…

Gustavus Swift of Sagamore, Massachusetts, founded a meat-packing company in 1850 that revolutionized the industry. His contributions included assembly-line processing, promotion of the safety of pre-cut and processed meat, and improvement and use…

Warehouses are known for their solid construction, and the Crane Co. warehouse, built of brick with heavy timber frame support and a concrete foundation, is no exception. The plumbing supply firm of Crane and Ordway already had warehouses in Great…