Filed Under Nevada City

Dr. Don L. Byam Residence

Light timber framing with board-and-batten walls characterizes this early home original to the Nevada City townsite. Inside, the original, well-preserved, muslin-covered walls are a rare example of a frontier decorating technique. The cabin’s first occupants were Dr. Don Byam and his family, who came to Alder Gulch in 1863 after someone jumped their claim near Bannack. Elected judge of the miner’s court, Dr. Byam presided over the murder trial of George Ives, held on Nevada City’s main street in December 1863. Ives, convicted and hanged, was incarcerated during the trial in the small cabin behind the house. The trial was the catalyst for forming the Vigilantes. During the Civil War in Confederate-dominated Alder Gulch, Dr. Byam was a member of the anti-Confederate Union League of America. Clandestine meetings were held in the Byam attic. The Byams moved on and Samuel B. Wonderly next owned the house. He removed the original false front and added the gable as camp phase architecture gave way to the settlement period. Lawrence Fenner and his wife Amanda moved into the house in 1875. They remained in Nevada City long after almost everyone else had moved away. Fenner, a Union League activist and self-styled Vigilante like Dr. Byam, was a civil engineer and inventor. He obtained the US Mineral Patent on the Nevada City townsite in 1878 and was the first to dredge in the area using a method he invented. After Fenner died in 1915, Amanda stayed on and died here in 1930 at 84.


Dr. Byam's house
Dr. Byam's house Still image capture of Dr. Byam's house, Virginia City, Montana,1952. Catalog #PAc 77-80.8 Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena MT Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: 1952


Main Street, Nevada City, Montana | Public


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Dr. Don L. Byam Residence,” Historic Montana, accessed July 25, 2024,