Considerable skill made up for a lack of capital when Scottish-born John McLaughlin arrived in Stevensville in 1895. He immediately began to practice his trade as a blacksmith, setting up shop across the street from this property, which he purchased a few years later. In 1898 McLaughlin married, and in 1899 he and his bride, Florence, moved into this newly built residence, where they remained for more than forty-five years. The one-story frame home is a variation of the pyramidal cottage, a very simple architectural form popular at this time. The Register reported in 1909 that the McLaughlins’ unpretentious home was one of the town’s most pleasant, spacious, and well arranged, and the nine lots upon which it rested included “fine shrubbery and a beautiful lawn, as well as good orchard and garden.” McLaughlin did his part “to make the town look more progressive and modern” with wood sidewalks and later a poured concrete walk at the front. A full-width porch was added in 1912 and the back extension in 1927. This well-liked Stevensville booster was not only a fine blacksmith but also an accomplished preacher at the Methodist-Episcopal Church, South. Dubbed the “jolly smithy and preacher” by the editor of the Northwest Tribune, McLaughlin served as state representative and several terms as mayor between 1928 and 1941. Although the orchard is now gone, the trim home with its sweeping lawn and mature shrubbery continues to enrich the local landscape.

Images

Map

105 Main Street, Stevensville, Montana ~ Private