Filed Under Helena

488-490 West Main Street

Helena Historic District

Two distinct front porches attest to the separate histories of these two nineteenth-century homes, combined into one in the late twentieth century. The older of the two at 490 West Main was built between 1865 and 1875. Segmentally arched windows and doors with carved wooden heads typify Helena’s first substantial homes. Inside, original woodwork and fourteen-foot ceilings throughout preserve the ambience of the earliest territorial period. A cabin of round notched peeled logs to the south recalls the first mining phase of West Main Street. The house at 488 was built between 1875 and 1888. The modest dwelling has a small room addition with a private entrance to accommodate boarders. A steep, narrow stairway leads to a second-story bedroom. Samuel Dempster and his large extended family occupied the home from 1890. A mining accident claimed Samuel’s eyesight prompting the Dempsters to move across the street in 1896, likely for the rental income from this residence. Samuel died in 1901 and the property passed out of the family. Numerous iron tie-rods, a consequence of the 1935 earthquakes, reinforce the brick of both homes.

Images

488-490 West Main Street
488-490 West Main Street 488-490 West Main Street. Front to side view of the house, facing west to southwest on West Main Street. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: Jan. 2020
488-490 West Main Street
488-490 West Main Street 488-490 West Main Street. Front view of the building, facing west on West Main Street. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: Jan. 2020

Location

488-490 West Main Street, Helena, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “488-490 West Main Street,” Historic Montana, accessed May 21, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2207.