Filed Under Great Falls

Great Falls Gas

Great Falls Central Business Historic District

A used car lot occupied this site before contractor John Sletten decided to build this commercial structure in 1941. The timing for the speculative project was right: the worst of the Depression was over, and civilian contractors still had access to supplies. Once the United States entered World War II, the government began rationing steel and other “controlled materials,” making this one of the few commercial buildings constructed during the war years. The decorative brick frieze and dark concrete block at the waterline enhance the building’s horizontal emphasis, while a diamond marked with an “S” for Sletten reflects the contractor’s pride in his work. Overall, however, the design of the single-story, brick building reflects an architectural trend toward simplicity. Originally occupied by a gas appliance store, the building became home to Great Falls Gas in 1955. Founded in 1909 to supply gas for streetlights, the company boomed after pipelines were constructed from natural gas fields in northern Montana. By 1959, Great Falls Gas supplied almost every home in the “electric city” and served over 15,000 local customers.

Images

Great Falls Gas Great Falls Gas (PAc 91-51 Great Falls R34 F05). Front to side view of the building, facing northwest on the corner of Central Avenue and 8th Street North. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1983

Location

725 Central Avenue, Great Falls, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Great Falls Gas,” Historic Montana, accessed December 7, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/182.