H. O. Bell House
University Area Historic District
Harry and Grace Bell commissioned the Spokane firm of Rigg and Vantyne to design this elegant two-story home. A textbook example of a high-style Craftsman residence, its design features a cross-gable roof, exposed rafter tails, decorative braces, heavy porch supports, large gabled dormers, and stylish multi-paned windows. The self-conscious rusticity often associated with the Craftsman style is evident here through the use of Helena-manufactured clinker brick—“over-fired” brick that resembles stone. The Bells, who were known for their hospitality, lived here from 1922 to the early 1960s. They hosted lavish and frequent parties, and their daughter remembers the house as always filled with friends. A pioneer automobile dealer, Bell had an unusually large garage built to match the house. The two-car garage sheltered the latest model Fords, custom fit with police interceptor engines for extra speed. Bell was a civic and business leader and generous philanthropist. An early proponent of commercial air travel and airport development, he was recognized for his work promoting aviation in 1968 when Missoula renamed its airport the Johnson-Bell Field.