Brothers William and Dudley Bass crossed the plains from Missouri by mule team, lured west in 1864 by tales of rich diggings. Disappointed in prospecting, the brothers homesteaded in the Bitterroot Valley near present-day Stevensville, where they pioneered the fruit industry in Montana. By the turn of the century, the Basses’ renowned Pine Grove Farm produced 10,000 boxes of apples shipped to such distant markets as New York and the Atlantic coast. By 1901, Dudley Bass had bought his brother’s interest in the business. He sold the ranch in 1907 and moved to Stevensville with his wife, Etta, and their son, Lee. In 1908, Dudley commissioned noted Montana architect A. J. Gibson to design this Neoclassical style landmark. Its grand entry with full-height porch and classical order columns bears a striking similarity to the entrances of the Missoula County Courthouse and the Daly Mansion in Hamilton, buildings designed by Gibson and also under construction at that time. The style required such strict symmetry that a false chimney was added to balance the composition. With all the grace of an antebellum plantation home, the interior features a regal U-shaped staircase, dining room with decorative beamed ceiling and pocket doors, and fine hardwood finishings throughout. A second-floor sitting room, entered through an archway off the hall, accesses the upstairs bedrooms. Wide windows with elegant beveled and leaded glass transoms invite unusually generous lighting. The gracious residence remained under Bass family ownership until the 1960s.   

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100 North College Street, Stevensville, Montana ~ Private