Hartley's Photo Studio

Deer Lodge Central Business Historic District

Minnesota-born Otho Hartley returned home from World War I and attended photography school in Illinois. He married in 1921 and the newlyweds moved to Deer Lodge to establish a photo shop. Hartley was the photographer and his wife Vera served as darkroom technician. Their business did well, and in 1927 the Hartleys constructed this commercial brick building as their studio. The Hartleys wanted their business to stand out, so they chose Mission style elements that are unique in Deer Lodge. A product of California, the Mission style gained momentum between 1890 and 1920, but by the time the Hartleys built their studio, its popularity had waned. Since the style was already out of the limelight, no other Mission style buildings appeared in Deer Lodge; the studio is one of Main Street’s most distinctive elements. A graceful cement-capped parapet, ornamental inlaid brickwork, and arched window and doorway are Mission style characteristics. Otho Hartley retired in 1946, but for more than twenty-five years he and his wife documented their adopted community. Their work remains a valuable record of Deer Lodge’s history.



504 Main Street, Deer Lodge, Montana ~ Private