Filed Under Missoula

Mrs. Lydia McCaffery's Furnished Rooms

Missoula Downtown Historic District

At the turn of the century, social critics saw apartment living as morally suspect. Instead, single working men and women who could not stay with their families typically lived in rooming or boardinghouses, where housekeepers ostensibly kept an eye on their behavior. Housekeepers were typically women, as the business was one of the few options for married or widowed women to earn a living. The need for rooming houses was great; Missoula’s population had grown over 250% between 1900 and 1910, and people continued to flock to the booming community. Lydia McCaffery and her widowed daughter, Mary Kroll, had this rooming house constructed in 1910 shortly after Lydia’s husband moved to Mexico. A full-length neoclassical porch distinguishes the brick foursquare residence. McCaffery expanded the two-story brick building circa 1915, adding dormers, which created space for three new rooms in the attic; a back addition with a kitchenette; and a separate wood-frame home in the rear, which she also leased to tenants. A diverse population rented Mrs. McCaffery’s furnished rooms. They included a dance teacher, a shoemaker, carpenters, railroad conductors, nurses at the neighboring hospital, and the widowed cook at the Northern Pacific Railroad’s lunchroom. Lydia died in 1921, and her daughter, by then remarried to local rancher George McCauley, took over the business. The McCauleys continued to live here and manage the rooming house into the late 1940s. More recently, the building has housed those in need, including families of patients at nearby St. Patrick Hospital.

Images

Mrs. Lydia McCaffrey's Furnished Rooms
Mrs. Lydia McCaffrey's Furnished Rooms Mrs. Lydia McCaffrey's Furnished Rooms. Front view of the house, facing south on Alder Street near the corner of Alder and Owen Street. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: Jan. 2020
Mrs. Lydia McCaffrey's Furnished Rooms
Mrs. Lydia McCaffrey's Furnished Rooms Mrs. Lydia McCaffrey's Furnished Rooms. Front to side view of the house, facing southwest on the corner of Alder Street and Owen Street. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: Jan. 2020

Location

501 West Alder Street, Missoula, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Mrs. Lydia McCaffery's Furnished Rooms,” Historic Montana, accessed April 15, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/1651.