When the Northern Pacific Railroad established a depot in Big Timber in 1883, the small frontier town fast became a business and shipping center, drawing trade from great distances. Construction of this fine hotel in 1890 well illustrates the impact of the railroad’s westward expansion. Local citizens were so confident in the town’s future that sheep rancher Jacob Halverson financed its $20,000 construction costs. The Grand was one of the early masonry buildings that replaced less permanent frame structures and sod-roofed log cabins along the main commercial street. The lovely façade with its extensive brick patterning and sandstone window surrounds is a tribute to the hotel’s unknown architect and local craftsmen. The Grand offered guests a sixty-seat dining room and forty sleeping apartments. An overnight stay cost about two dollars, and “no house in the state furnished better returns for the money.” But for sheep ranchers, miners, and residents, the Grand quickly became an essential place to socialize and conduct business. In 1908, on Friday the 13th of May, a spectacular fire destroyed nearly all the businesses along McLeod Street. Remarkably, the Grand Hotel remained intact. This enduring landmark, more than just a hotel to the community, continues to be a place to gather, hear news, and do business.

Images

Grand Hotel, Big Timber, MT View of facade Source: iPhone 8 image capture Creator: Martha Kohl, photographer Date: June 4, 2021
Grand Hotel Grand Hotel. Front to side view of the hotel building, facing northeast at the intersection of McLeod Street and East 2nd Avenue. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1985
Grand Hotel Grand Hotel. Rear to side view of the hotel building, facing west on East 2nd Avenue. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1985
Grand Hotel Grand Hotel. Rear view of the hotel building, facing southwest in the alley off of East 2nd Avenue. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1985
Grand Hotel Grand Hotel. Front to side view of the hotel building, facing east on McLeod Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1985
Grand Hotel Grand Hotel. Rear to side view of the hotel building, facing south in the alley off of East 2nd Avenue. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1985
Grand Hotel Grand Hotel. Rear to side view of the hotel building, facing south to southwest from the alley off of East 2nd Avenue. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1985

Location

137 McLeod Street, Big Timber, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Grand Hotel,” Historic Montana, accessed February 9, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2116.