John M. Keith House
The prestigious architectural firm of Link and Haire designed this handsome residence, which reflects the Midwestern taste of its first owner, John M. Keith. Son of a farmer from New Brunswick, Canada, Keith came to Missoula in 1881. Taking a job as a cashier at the Missoula National Bank in 1888, he worked his way up to vice president. Keith had completed a third term as mayor of Missoula and been made president of the Missoula Trust and Savings Banks when his grand home was completed circa 1910. The Prairie School style, promoted by architect Frank Lloyd Wright of Chicago, was intended to imitate the “rolling Midwestern prairie terrain.” A low-pitched hipped roof and widely overhanging eaves augment the horizontal emphasis characteristic of the style, which is further enhanced by terra cotta tiles capping hip-roofed chimneys. A granite foundation and detailing add contrast to the walls of high-fired brown-rust brick. Much of the first-floor interior retains its original opulence, strongly influenced by the Craftsman style of the period, including exquisite woodwork, elegant paneling, pocket sliding doors, and a copper-clad entry hall fireplace. This distinctive home served as a private residence until the 1930s when it was purchased by the Sigma Chi fraternity.