Filed Under Billings

I.D. O'Donnell Home

Ignatius D. O’Donnell came to Montana Territory from Michigan in 1882 to seek his fortune. A pioneer in crop development and irrigation methods, O’Donnell came to be called the “Alfalfa King,” introducing both alfalfa and the sugar beet plant to the Yellowstone Valley. O’Donnell, his wife Louise, and family of six children moved into this spacious twelve-room home on New Year’s Day, 1905. The beautiful residence, designed by prominent Montana architects Link and Haire, was located on what was then the edge of town. A three-story octagonal turret, bay windows, narrow siding, stained glass, and diagonal window panes make the home a noteworthy example of Victorian period architecture. Within the home, floors and woodwork that retain their original finish and sliding pocket doors are a credit to the fine craftsmanship of builders Eames and Sawyer. In 1914, O’Donnell became supervisor of irrigation for the U.S. Reclamation Commission, which he helped organize, and in 1919 he was designated “Montana’s Best Farmer.” O’Donnell contributed to all facets of the early Billings community and when he died in 1948, his legacy extended from the irrigation canals and sugar beet industry to civic enterprises such as the fair, public library, city parks, and Rocky Mountain College. Helene Wallis, O’Donnell’s eldest daughter, resided in the home from 1905 to 1988, raising her own family here. This exceptional, well-maintained residence remains in the O’Donnell family, its turn-of-the-twentieth-century appearance remarkably unchanged.

Images

I.D. O'Donnell Home
I.D. O'Donnell Home I.D. O'Donnell Home (PAc 91-51 Billings Westside R04 F26). Front to side view of the house, facing northwest on the corner of Clark Avenue and 1st Street West. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: June 1980
I.D. O'Donnell Home
I.D. O'Donnell Home I.D. O'Donnell Home (PAc 91-51 Billings Westside R05 F07). Front view of the house, facing north on 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

105 Clark Avenue, Billings, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “I.D. O'Donnell Home,” Historic Montana, accessed May 30, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2164.