Property owner Hattie Haight hosted the Immanuel Mission of the First Baptist Church in this modest home from 1891 to 1893, catering to the neighborhood’s multi-ethnic, working-class residents. Widowed in 1894, Hattie retained the home as a rental, supporting herself and her two small children. She sold the property in 1896 to absentee investors. In 1915, Mamie Bridgewater moved in as a tenant. She was the widow of Samuel Bridgewater, a veteran of the Army’s all-black Twenty-fourth Infantry. Bridgewater was stationed at Fort Harrison after service in the Spanish American War and died of war-related injuries in 1912. Mamie supported herself and her five children as a domestic. In 1925, she purchased the house. A pillar of the Second Baptist Church, a leader of Helena’s African American community, and a nurturing mother, Mamie died in 1950. Daughter Octavia made her home here and continued her mother’s warm hospitality. Octavia graduated from New York’s all-black Lincoln School of Nursing and returned to Helena as a private nurse in 1930. In 1942, she was one of 56 African Americans accepted into the Army Nurse Corps. Earning the rank of First Lieutenant, Octavia helped lift the military’s ban on African American nurses. On her return to Helena, Octavia found racial barriers diminished; St. Peters Hospital, which had refused her a job before the war, hired her as one of its first black employees. The neatly kept home still boasts its original clapboard siding, simple boxed eaves, original trim, and gently hipped roof. The residence is notable for its three dynamic female owners and strong ethnic associations.



502 Peosta Avenue, Helena, Montana ~ Private