Filed Under Billings

Billings Chamber of Commerce Building

J. Collins West, Exalted Ruler of Lodge 394 of the Elks Club, planned this turn-of-the-century Italian Renaissance Revival style building as a lodge hall. Billings Elks members attending the St. Louis Exposition in 1904 purchased a bar for their proposed facility. Inlaid with bands of ebony and mother-of-pearl, the bar featured leaded, stained glass windows, beer steins, and walnut paneling. Murals, a thousand dollar tapestry, hanging lamps, and doorknobs embossed with the head of an elk complemented the fine interior furnishings. The foundation features sandstone excavated from the Heffner quarry. A round stone arch on a stone pedestal highlights the entryway. Giant order scrolled columns, the Renaissance roof cornice, and bowed iron balconies dominate the front fa├žade. A three-day dedication celebration trumpeted the completion of the building in 1910, complete with a formal lodge dedication, gala balls, a reception, and street decorations. Financial difficulties immediately began to plague the group and in 1918 the Elks sold the building to the Billings-Midland Club, precursor to the Chamber of Commerce, who occupied the space until the 1960s. In 1971, a group of local businessmen announced that the structure would be razed and a parking lot built on the site. Two auctions occurred as a result, and many of the original interior decorations were sold. A group of concerned citizens, organized as the Save-the-Chamber-Committee, rescued the building from demolition. Demolition plans again surfaced in the early 1990s but investors opted to renovate the landmark and preserve the building.

Images

Billings Chamber of Commerce Building
Billings Chamber of Commerce Building Billings Chamber of Commerce Building. Front view of the building, facing northeast on North 27th Street. Source: The Billings Gazette, Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: James Woodcock Date: Apr. 1986

Location

303 North 27th Street, Billings, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Billings Chamber of Commerce Building,” Historic Montana, accessed May 30, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2156.