Filed Under Ekalaka

First National Bank of Ekalaka/Rickard Hardware Building

In 1934, at the height of the Great Depression, fire destroyed four Main Street buildings, including the First National Bank. When the economy recovered, local contractor V. E. Figg designed and constructed this 1940 commercial structure. With contrasting white stucco, glass block, and black tile, the Streamline Moderne style building asserted Ekalaka’s modernity while signifying a belief in the town’s future. The building’s west half served as the offices of the First National Bank until 1970. Retail stores operated here during the 1970s. Then the bank used the building for storage. In 2011 Summit National Bank donated it to the Town of Ekalaka. Now the Town Office, the interior still boasts the original bank vaults and much of the original wood trim and paneling. Rickard Hardware, owned by C. G. Mac Rickard, originally occupied the east half of the building. After the hardware store closed, the building housed a furniture store before becoming a meat locker in 1945. The locker rented freezers and processed meat in the back of building and sold ice cream in the front. In 1954, Joe and Helen Blutt purchased the business. After electricity became locally available, the need for locker services declined so the Blutts expanded the front area into a teen hangout. For over twenty-five years, kids met at “The Locker” to listen to the juke box and play foosball, pinball, and pool while enjoying malts, burgers, and fries. The Locker closed in 1998 and remained vacant until the Ekalaka Public Library moved here in 2013.

Images

First National Bank Ekalaka/Rickard Hardware View of facade Source: National Register of Historic Places nomination form, Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT Creator: Pete Brown
First National Bank Ekalaka Historic 1950 calendar cover page Source: National Register of Historic Places nomination form, MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT Creator: First National Bank Ekalaka Date: August 2015
First National Bank Ekalaka/Rickard Hardware Night time view of facade Source: National Register of Historic Places nomination form, MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena Creator: Kate Hampton Date: August 2015
Downtown Ekalaka, MT 1971 view of downtown Ekalaka with First National/Rickards at front left Source: National Register of Historic Places nomination form, MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena Creator: Unknown Date: Winter 1971
Downtown Ekalaka, MT 1973 view of downtown Ekalaka with First National/Rickards at front left Source: National Register of Historic Places nomination form, MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena Creator: Unknown Date: 1973

Location

103 and 105 North Main Street, Ekalaka, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “First National Bank of Ekalaka/Rickard Hardware Building,” Historic Montana, accessed February 9, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2179.