Billings architect Curtis Oehme designed the Atlas Block, constructed in 1915-16 of locally quarried sandstone. Rusticated pilasters project above the roofline, and a checkerboard patterned frieze enlivens the cornice. The solid two-story building has always served as Columbus’s social center. Even before its interior was completed, both the Catholic Altar Society and the local fire department held balls here, and the Rebekahs, Odd Fellows, and Masons began meeting on the second floor. Annin and Banks moved their dry goods store into the east bay in early March 1916, and on March 27, 1916, Mike Jacobs and Tom Mulvihill held a grand opening for the Atlas Bar, which occupied the west half of the building. Divided into several “departments,” the Atlas offered a smoking room and cigar stand; a billiards parlor, decorated with the bar’s famous animal mounts; a saloon; a three-lane bowling alley; and a sandwich shop. A separate “ladies entrance” opened to a “ladies sitting room.” Boasting one of the best preserved bar interiors in Montana, the Atlas retains its pressed metal ceilings, oak floors, and a Brunswick-Balke-Collender mahogany front and back bar, adorned with Corinthian capitals and three half arches decorated with lion heads. A second Brunswick back bar on the opposite wall is now used only for decoration. Owners sold soft drinks, ice cream, cigars, and sporting goods during Prohibition, reopening the bar after its repeal in 1933. Members of the Mulvihill family continued to operate the Atlas until 1997, offering hospitality to locals and travelers for over eighty years while preserving a Stillwater monument.

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528 East Pike Street, Absarokee/Columbus, Montana ~ Private