In June of 1907 fire swept through Harlowton’s Main Street, consuming twenty-four buildings, among them the town’s only hotel. Prominent businessman A. C. “Chris” Graves resolved to build a new hotel, but relocated it on the bluff between the old Main Street and the depot. As others quickly followed suit, the focus of Harlowton’s commercial district turned ninety degrees. The fire also prompted a city ordinance requiring fireproof construction, and the Graves Hotel was the first building of locally quarried sandstone erected after the disaster. Stonemason August Pollman and his crew of local workmen cut the stone from the cliff beneath the new building and laid each block following the plans of architects Kent and Shanley. The three-story hotel held its grand opening on June 19, 1909. Illuminated by one hundred fifty electric lights, the hotel was dazzling with the “…most elaborate electrical display in this section of Montana.” The Graves’ forty-five rooms offered travelers, homesteaders, and visiting railroad dignitaries the most modern accommodations. The hotel still welcomes guests with its second-floor veranda, exquisite interior oak detailing, and sweeping views of the Musselshell Valley.

Sadly, a fire destroyed the Graves Hotel in February 2023.

Images

Graves Hotel, Harlowton, MT
Graves Hotel, Harlowton, MT View of facade, looking southeast. Creator: Tom Ferris, photographer. Date: Summer 2022
Graves Hotel, Harlowton, MT
Graves Hotel, Harlowton, MT View of facade, looking east. Creator: Tom Ferris, photographer. Date: Summer 2022.
Graves Hotel, Harlowton, MT
Graves Hotel, Harlowton, MT View of parapet with name and date block "Graves Hotel, 1908." Creator: Tom Ferris, photographer. Date: Summer 2022.
Graves Hotel, Harlowton, MT
Graves Hotel, Harlowton, MT View of hexagonal turret, bracketed eaves, and roof spire. Creator: Tom Ferris, photographer. Date: Summer 2022.
Graves Hotel, Harlowton, MT
Graves Hotel, Harlowton, MT View of interior dining room. Creator: Tom Ferris, photographer. Date: Summer 2022.
Graves Hotel, Harlowton, MT
Graves Hotel, Harlowton, MT Historic view of the Graves Hotel facade, view looking southeast. Twelve men, horses, and a carriage stand outside the front porch. Source: Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, Helena, MT. Lot 048 Tom Mulvaney Postcard Collection. Creator: E. M. Holmboe, North Dakota, photographer. Date: Jan 1912

Location

106 South Central Street, Harlowton, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Graves Hotel,” Historic Montana, accessed June 17, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2132.