Filed Under Billings

Parmly Billings Memorial Library

Billings Old Town Historic District

In 1901, the Billings community celebrated the opening of this city landmark as its new library. It would, the paper reported, make Billings “a better place in which to live.” Designed by architect C. S. Haire, the elegant structure was built using native sandstone. It features the steep roofs, turrets, and rounded arches typical of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The library sits on land donated to the city by the Northern Pacific Railroad, and was built through the generous philanthropy of the Billings family. City founder Frederick Billings was a former president of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Frederick Billings, Jr., gave $20,000 for the building and its furnishings in memory of his brother, Parmly, who died at age twenty-five in 1888. The Billings family again donated funds in 1913 and 1923 to construct the east and west wings. The city’s continuing growth forced the relocation of the public library in the 1960s. In 1971, the building was saved from demolition and became the Western Heritage Center, a regional museum which interprets Montana history.

Images

Miss Mable Collins the first librarian at Parmly Billings Library The original Parmly Billings Memorial Library, named after Frederick and Julia Billings' eldest child, was dedicated in October, 1901. The Richardsonian Romanesque building located at 2822 Montana Avenue, was constructed in three phases. Source: Montana Memory Project Creator: Unknown Date: 1901
Parmly Billings Library Parmly Billings Library, facing west on Montana Avenue, side/front view. Source: Montana Memory Project Creator: Unknown Date: 1948
Parmly Billings Library Parmly Billings Library, facing west on Montana Avenue, side/front view. Source: Montana Memory Project Creator: Unknown Date: 1957
Parmly Billings Library Parmly Billings Library, facing west on Montana Avenue, side/front view. Source: Montana Memory Project Creator: Unknown Date: 1930

Location

2822 Montana Avenue, Billings, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Parmly Billings Memorial Library,” Historic Montana, accessed December 7, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2412.