Filed Under Helena

Montana Highway Department Building

Montana State Capitol Campus Historic District

Montana’s original Highway Department building reflects the ascendancy of the automobile in twentieth-century America. As drivers began lobbying for good roads, state government responded, forming the Montana Highway Commission in 1913. Five years later, responding to federal road monies, the state created the Montana Highway Department and State Highway System. The 1920s brought more cars to Montana’s thoroughfares and more work for the Highway Department. With increased federal funding during the Great Depression, the department outgrew its offices in the state capitol. Consequently, the Highway Commission hired Great Falls architect George Shanley to design a new home for the ever-expanding agency. The resulting Stripped Classical, smooth concrete structure reflects the aesthetics of New Deal–era public architecture. When completed in 1936, it was hailed as being “modern in every way.” Two decades later, the federal government established the Interstate Highway System, which led to the 1958 construction of a five-story, Modern addition designed by the Great Falls firm of Bordeleau-Pannell & Amundson. In 1978, the renamed Montana Department of Transportation moved into new headquarters allowing other state agencies to occupy this building.

Images

Montana Highway Department Building Montana Highway Department Building. Side to front view of the building, facing northwest near the corner of 6th Avenue and Roberts Street. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: June 2012
Montana Highway Department Building Montana Highway Department Building. Front to side view of the building, facing northwest on the corner of 6th Avenue and Roberts Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: June 2012
Montana Highway Department Building Montana Highway Department Building. Side to rear view of the building, facing east to northeast from the employee lot entry on 6th Avenue. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: June 2012
Montana Highway Department Building Montana Highway Department Building. Rear view of the building, facing northeast from the rear lawn area with a view of the employee lot off of 6th Avenue. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: June 2012
Montana Highway Department Building Montana Highway Department Building. Rear view of the building, facing east from the employee lot off of 6th Avenue. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: June 2012
Montana Highway Department Building Montana Highway Department Building. Side view of the building, facing east on 8th Avenue. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: June 2012
Montana Highway Department Building Montana Highway Department Building. Front view of the building, facing southwest on Roberts Street. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: June 2012
Montana Highway Department Building Montana Highway Department Building. Front view of the new addition, facing west to northwest on North Roberts Street. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2006
Montana Highway Department Building Montana Highway Department Building. Front view of the building addition, facing west to northwest from the employee parking lot off of East 6th Avenue. Digital photograph. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2006

Location

302 North Roberts Street, Helena, Montana | Public

Metadata

Montana National Register Sign Program, “Montana Highway Department Building,” Historic Montana, accessed February 4, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2718.