Filed Under Pray

Chico Hot Springs

Generous verandas, period furnishings, and healing waters invite the visitor to experience turn-of-the-century hospitality under the shadow of Emigrant Peak. The hot springs, long appreciated by native peoples, got their commercial start during the territorial period when miners stopped by to bathe and “wash their duds.” In 1876, an inventive settler tapped into the 112 degree water, piping it under his greenhouse to grow vegetables for local residents. A hotel was planned in the 1880s, but in 1892, there were still no facilities and families camped nearby to enjoy the springs. Percie and Bill Knowles inherited the property in 1894. They ran a boardinghouse for miners and, in 1900, built the long-awaited hot springs hotel. Under Knowles’ active promotion, uniformed drivers ferried such guests as Teddy Roosevelt and artist Charlie Russell from the Emigrant depot to the springs. When Bill Knowles died in 1910, Percie and her son Radbourne transformed the luxurious hotel into a respected medical facility. Dr. George A. Townsend joined the staff in 1912 and under his direction, the hospital and healing waters gained renown throughout the northwest. After the 1940s, new owners and new directions included gambling and dude ranching. In 1976, Mike and Eve Art began recapturing the once-famous hotel’s turn-of the-century ambiance. Chico Hot Springs, with its Georgian-inspired architecture and warm Craftsman style interiors, is one of Montana’s best preserved examples of an early-twentieth-century hot springs hotel and health resort. 

Images

Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Overview of the Resort, view from the southeast. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. View of the Pool, Shower House, and Snack Bar (to the right). Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Side view of the Pool Building, view from the west. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Rear view of the Main Hotel building (1919 Addition), view from the northeast. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Front to side view of the Main Hotel building, view from the northwest. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Side view of the Main Hotel building, view from the north. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Side view of the Main Hotel building (and the Rec Hall at the right in the photograph), view from the east. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Overview of the Resort Complex, view from the north. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Side view of the Auto Garage building, view from the south. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Rear view of the Horse Barn and Corrals with the New Lodge in the background, view from the east. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Front view of the Auto Garage, view from the west. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Front view of the Boiler House, view from the southwest. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Front view of the Meat House, view from the south. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Rear to side view of the Pool Building, view from the south. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Front to side view of the Recreation Hall building, view from the northwest. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Front view of the Horse Barn, view from the west. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Front view of the Snack Bar building, view from the south. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. Rear to side view of the Shower House, view from the northeast. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998
Chico Hot Springs Chico Hot Springs. View of the Chico Billboard. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 1998

Location

163 Chico Road, Pray, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Chico Hot Springs,” Historic Montana, accessed December 7, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/1699.