Tootle, Leach & Company Warehouse

Virginia City Historic District

Thomas Tootle and Richard Leach formed a partnership, operating with various other partners in mercantile stores in Denver, Kansas City, here in Virginia City, and later in Deer Lodge. Tootle and Leach was one of Virginia City’s first businesses, opening in 1863. Their mercantile soon expanded, moving here to Idaho Street, four doors up from the corner of Idaho and Jackson. In 1864, Stephen J. Gainan, who was later a successful placer miner at Brown’s Gulch, built this fireproof stone building adjacent to the main store as a warehouse to house the mercantile’s extensive inventory. Tootle & Leach advertised a variety of hard to find “Fancy and Staple Goods,” such as Shaker hoods, hoop skirts, and fine Brussels and hemp carpets. The store offered practical items as well including stationery, miner’s blankets, brown muslin, “Missouri” jeans, and housekeeping supplies. Tootle and Leach dissolved their Virginia City partnership in 1872, and the store no longer stands. Its other walls and dirt roof long since collapsed, this single stone wall of the warehouse is the lone survivor.

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Virginia City, Montana ~ Public