Filed Under Great Falls

Rainbow Hotel

Great Falls Central Business Historic District

Architects George Shanley and John Kent designed the 1911 Rainbow Hotel for the Great Falls Townsite Company. The Townsite Company’s board included two of the most powerful men in America: Anaconda Company president John D. Ryan and Great Northern Railway president James J. Hill. The five-story hotel expressed their belief in Great Falls’ future—as an industrial center and hub for a large, prosperous agricultural district. As Ryan explained, they did not design the Rainbow for Great Falls as it existed, but for the much larger city they expected it to become. Decorated with terra cotta, the luxurious brick building cost $400,000 to construct and furnish, making it the most expensive establishment in the state. The hotel boasted a café, buffet, banquet hall, sample rooms, and 150 sleeping rooms, 120 of which connected to their own bathrooms. Finished in white marble, ivory, and copper, the lobby exuded elegance. So, too, did the Palm Room, which the Tribune complimented as “the most pretentious public room in a hotel between the Twin Cities and the Pacific coast.”

Images

Rainbow Hotel Rainbow Hotel (PAc 91-51 Great Falls R26 F10). Front to side view of the building, facing west to southwest near the intersection of 3rd Street North and 1st Avenue North. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1983
Rainbow Hotel Rainbow Hotel (PAc 91-51 Great Falls R26 F11). Front to side view of the building, facing southwest on the corner of 3rd Street North and 1st Avenue North. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1983
Rainbow Hotel Rainbow Hotel. Front to side view of the building, facing south to southwest on the corner of 3rd Street North and 1st Avenue North in Great Falls, Montana. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 2013

Location

20 3rd Street North, Great Falls, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Rainbow Hotel,” Historic Montana, accessed February 4, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/190.