Filed Under Belt

Oriental Saloon

Belt Commercial Historic District

A one-story wood-frame building stood here between 1897 and 1907. Reflecting the mining town's early hard-drinking culture, it first originally housed two saloons. When Swedish immigrants Charles Carlson and George Edman purchased the lot in 1907, the town's prospects looked strong. The Anaconda Company had just expanded its coal mining operation, and in response to the influx of newcomers, Belt had incorporated as a third-class city. Main Street businessmen, including Carlson and Edman, began replacing their wooden false-front buildings with more permanent structures. Carlson and Edman relied on locally quarried, rough-faced sandstone to construct their two-story commercial block. The first floor housed the Oriental Saloon, which "boasted electric lights, running water and a bar and back bar of mahogany in a colonial style." Iron pilasters and an iron header allowed the contractor to install large plate-glass windows, letting natural light into the interior. Although the windows are gone, the iron framing remains. Carlson converted the saloon into a pool hall and then a "soft drinks parlor" during Prohibition, before retiring in 1926. Later businesses included a butcher shop and a grocery store.


Oriental Saloon,  Belt, MT
Oriental Saloon, Belt, MT View of facade Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT Creator: Jon Axline, photographer Date: Feb 2003


66 Castner Street, Belt, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Oriental Saloon,” Historic Montana, accessed June 17, 2024,