Missoula Downtown Historic District
Two Missoula attorneys on opposing sides of the political arena teamed up to construct this attractive commercial building in 1897. Republican Joseph Dixon, who later became Governor of Montana (1921-1925), began his political career as Missoula County attorney in 1894. He returned to practice law in this newly completed building while his building partner, Democrat Asa L. Duncan, succeeded him as county attorney. Duncan soon resigned, however, to serve as captain of Company L in the first Montana Volunteers during the Spanish AmericanWar/Philippine Insurrection. He saw action at Manila and was mustered out as a major in 1899. By 1903, both men had their respective law offices in the building. Dixon served as U.S. senator from 1906 to 1913, maintaining his offices here until 1911. Duncan practiced law until he was elected fourth judicial district judge in 1913, a position he held until 1937. Upon retirement, Duncan had the state’s second longest service record as a trial jurist. In the 1920s, the building became known as the Duncan & Peterson Block where the Peterson Drug Store was a longtime first-floor occupant. The graceful Romanesque arches and unique brickwork reflect Missoula’s turn-of-the-century good fortune and are a lasting tribute to two dynamic Montanans. Unlike most historic storefronts long since modernized, the first floor retains its multi-pane leaded transom and original metal window frames. Carrara glass surrounding the street-level stairway entry, added during the 1920s or 1930s, speaks to more recent stylistic trends.