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.


Graves Hotel Graves Hotel, facing southwest on Central Avenue South, front view of building. Source: Creator: Date: Sept. 2003


106 South Central Street, Harlowton, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Graves Hotel,” Historic Montana, accessed November 28, 2022,