Filed Under Great Falls

Murphy Maclay Hardware Store

Great Falls Central Business Historic District

In the 1880s Murphy, Maclay and Co. sold everything from flour and fine teas to window glass and blasting powder. Edgar Maclay and John Murphy established the firm with stores in Helena and Fort Benton in 1882. Two years later they sent Worden Wren here to open a branch in a canvas tent; Great Falls was only a few months old. They constructed this stone and brick building in 1886. They expanded the building in 1888, remodeled again before 1900, and again sometime before 1929. Later remodels reflect Murphy Maclay’s continued prosperity but disguised the building’s historic character. A look at the west wall, however, reveals the original rubble stone construction. Locally available rubble stone supplied fire-resistant and sturdy building components before the railroad arrived in 1887, expanding the choice of construction material. By 1891 the one-story stone building housed both the Great Falls National Bank and the Murphy Maclay hardware and grocery store. One of the longest operating businesses in Great Falls, the firm sold hardware from this building from 1886 into the 1960s.


Murphy Maclay Hardware Store
Murphy Maclay Hardware Store Murphy Maclay Hardware Store (PAc 91-51 Great Falls R19 F16). Front to side view of the building, facing southeast on the corner of Central Avenue and 2nd Street South. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1983


200 Central Avenue, Great Falls, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Murphy Maclay Hardware Store,” Historic Montana, accessed July 13, 2024,