When Preston B. Moss built this red sandstone mansion in 1902-1903, it was some distance from the growing City of Billings. The 25-room structure was home to Mr. and Mrs. Moss, their six children, the grandparents, and a staff of three. Designed by New York architect R. J. Hardenburgh, whose works include the Waldorf Astoria and Plaza hotels, the residence was well constructed by local firm E. H. Gagnon and decorated by W. P. Nelson of Chicago, who designed some lighting fixtures still in use. Mahogany and walnut woodwork, an onyx fireplace, rose silk and gold leaf wall coverings, and stained glass windows are among the luxurious finishing touches. Because the home did not change hands, it appears nearly the same outside and inside as it did upon completion. When Preston Moss arrived in Billings in 1892, en route to Butte from Missouri, the town’s bustling activity made him decide to stay. He soon took control of the First National Bank of Billings and astutely considered the area’s future. The Silver Panic of 1893, when silver prices fell by half, found Moss’s bank invested primarily in sheep. Moss became one of Montana’s largest and most diversified investors, owning the Billings Gazette 1908-1914 and being instrumental in creation of the Huntley Irrigation Project. He built the original Northern Hotel here and rebuilt it following the 1940 fire.

Audio

The Moss Mansion Historical marker text read by Montana Historical Society staff member Ellen Baumler. Presented on the Soundcloud channel "Montana History on the Go" 2015. Source: Montana History on the Go Creator: Ellen Baumler Date: 2015

Images

Moss Mansion Moss Mansion (PAc 91-51 Billings Westside R04 F08). Front to side view of the mansion house, facing southwest on the corner of Division Street and Clark Avenue. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: June 1980

Location

914 Division Street, Billings, Montana | Restricted Access

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Moss Mansion,” Historic Montana, accessed February 4, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2162.