Billings Old Town Historic District
Once considered the “wrong side of the tracks,” Minnesota Avenue was known for its many bars, brothels, cigar stores, and Chinese restaurants. (Chinese districts often bordered red light districts, serving inexpensive food to the working women and other patrons.) Around 1893, German saloon keeper and landlord Nicholas Klos built this small brick building, which is among the oldest commercial structures in Billings. He converted it into two storefronts by 1896. Characteristically, one side housed a saloon, the other a cigar store. He removed the interior wall around 1900, when Frank Young opened a Chinese restaurant. The building later became a billiards hall. In the 1920s, Keene Auto Company remodeled and expanded the premises for a service station and auto repair shop. Prohibition ended in 1933, and the business returned to its roots when the Yukon Bar opened two years later. The Yukon, open into the 1980s, became a Billings institution—a place where tourists went to gawk and sheepherders to drink. An extensive restoration project, completed in 2008, replaced missing and altered architectural elements. The storefront now looks much as it did in 1901.