Silver Bow County Poor Farm Hospital
Built as a hospital in 1902, this building illustrates the early development of care for the indigent in Montana and is the only such structure remaining in the state. Silver Bow had previously maintained a poor farm and quarantine house on these premises while contracting out for hospital services. But the mines of Butte attracted an influx of immigrant workers, many of them impoverished. More adequate medical care was desperately needed for this burgeoning dependent population. Silver Bow contracted prominent architect C. S. Haire to design the new hospital. The original center section is of brick-bearing wall construction and features terra cotta string courses in rope and egg-and-dart designs. The facilities included an operating room, offices, patients’ rooms, and wards. An innovative ventilation system circulated fresh air throughout the building. North and south wings in the same style were added within the next two decades. The hospital served the needy until the current system of welfare was adopted in the 1930s. After that the hospital continued services to the until a new facility replaced it in 1956. The National Center for Appropriate Technology has occupied the building since 1976.