220 Fifth Avenue

Helena Historic District

The elegant Second Empire style, rare in Helena, is beautifully expressed in this three-story residence built circa 1880 during Helena’s stint as territorial capital. Jerome and Marcia Norris, longtime resident owners, counted Helena’s social elite among their circle of friends. Jerome had cattle interests and several butcher shops. After 1884, he changed careers to ore mining. By the 1900s, the Norrises took in boarders. Among them, from 1908 to 1911, was photographer S. J. Culbertson whose rented rooms included his studio. From 1911 to 1914, the residence served as the first home of the Helena Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), offering safe housing for working women, female travelers, and young girls from rural homes attending high school. The YWCA also ran a lunchroom on the premises, well patronized by courthouse employees. By the 1920s, Mrs. T. J. Walker’s boarding house advertised Mrs. Baker’s “Good Home Cooking,” and by 1940, there were four apartments; Marguerite Mayer was the owner/landlady. The home today retains its mansard roof, molded cornices, and ornate brackets and eaves, grandly symbolizing the importance of Courthouse Square and Helena’s significant role as territorial capital.

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220 5th Avenue, Helena, Montana ~ Private