Filed Under Kalispell

Flathead Wholesale Grocery

Minnesota merchant brothers Tom, John, and William Elliott moved to Kalispell in 1911, after buying James Conlon’s successful mercantile. They expanded into the wholesale grocery business in 1914, building this two-story brick warehouse near the Great Northern Railway tracks. The solid, practical building is designed to hold thousands of pounds of goods. Interior posts and beams helped support the weight; the main floor originally had about 7,500 square feet filled with shelves for dry storage. A small enclosed office sat on the west end of the building. The Elliotts stored perishable goods, including barrels of vinegar, canned fruits and vegetables, and molasses, in the basement to protect them from temperature fluctuations. A freight elevator ran from the basement to a second-story balcony shipping room. The elevator was designed for loads of up to 3,000 pounds, but as one enthusiastic reporter explained, since its motor was “capable of lifting 7,000 pounds . . . an extra case of pork and beans would hardly stall it.” The Elliotts purchased local produce, like potatoes, for export by rail. They also imported a wide range of groceries that they sold to area retailers. Rail cars traveled from the main line on a spur line built specifically to bring goods to the warehouse. At one time, a rear loading platform angled to align with the rail line, easing the transfer of merchandise from the boxcars to the wholesale grocery. Although the tracks and the loading platform have long since been removed, the warehouse remains, reflecting the importance of the Great Northern Railway to early Kalispell commerce.

Images

Flathead Wholesale Grocery Flathead Wholesale Grocery (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R43 F20). Front to side view of the building, facing northwest on East Center Street. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Kathy McKay Date: Dec. 1992
Flathead Wholesale Grocery Flathead Wholesale Grocery (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R43 F22). Side to rear view of the building, facing southwest from the parking lot looking towards 1st Avenue East. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Kathy McKay Date: Dec. 1992
Flathead Wholesale Grocery Flathead Wholesale Grocery (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R43 F23). Rear view of the building, facing south from the rear parking lot towards East Center Street. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Kathy McKay Date: Dec. 1992
Flathead Wholesale Grocery Flathead Wholesale Grocery (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R43 F24). Side to rear view of the building, facing southeast on 1st Avenue East near the corner of 1st Avenue East and East Center Street. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Kathy McKay Date: Dec. 1992
Flathead Wholesale Grocery Flathead Wholesale Grocery (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R43 F26). Front view of the building, facing north on East Center Street from the Kalispell Monumental Company is situated. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Kathy McKay Date: Dec. 1992
Flathead Wholesale Grocery Flathead Wholesale Grocery (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R43 F27). Front to side view of the building, facing north near the intersection of East Center Street and 1st Avenue East beside Kalispell Monumental Company. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Kathy McKay Date: Dec. 1992
Flathead Wholesale Grocery Flathead Wholesale Grocery (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R43 F29). Front to side view of the building, facing northeast on the corner of 1st Avenue East and East Center Street. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Kathy McKay Date: Dec. 1992

Location

5 1st Avenue East, Kalispell, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Flathead Wholesale Grocery,” Historic Montana, accessed December 2, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2348.