Filed Under Virginia City

Corbett House

Virginia City Historic District

The cozy placement of the Corbett and Daems houses has long been a mystery in Virginia City. The log Corbett house was likely built in summer 1863, and the Daems house by early 1864. No records exist explaining why these two middle-class homes sit so close together but remained separate homes with separate owners (with no adjoining door) for over 140 years. Although Virginia City was formally platted (divided into lots) by July 1863, miners and merchants weren’t worried about city planning. Within eight months of the first gold strike, more than five hundred buildings sprang up, without regard to lot lines or setbacks. With land in high demand, many of Virginia City’s early residences abutted others as a space-saving measure. Early owners of this home included an actress, county surveyor John Corbett, and watchmaker Norris Butler and his family. By 1952, preservationist Charles Bovey owned both houses, which remained in use for paint storage for more than fifty years. In 2007, the Montana Heritage Commission introduced an interior door during restoration, finally connecting the two houses.


Daems and Corbett Houses, Virginia City, Montana.
Daems and Corbett Houses, Virginia City, Montana. View of two frame houses with covered porches. The Dr. Levinus Daems house on the left was built around 1864 and the John Corbett house on the right was likely built in 1863. The two houses were built as separate structures with separate owners on Idaho Street in Virginia City, Montana. Source: PAc 956-367. Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT. Creator: Unknown photographer Date: Between 1930-1950
Corbett House, Virginia City
Corbett House, Virginia City View looking south at building facade Source: Courtesy of Montana Heritage Commission Creator: Kate Steeley, Montana Heritage Commission Date: Oct 2019


Virginia City, Montana | Public


Montana National Register Sign Program, “Corbett House,” Historic Montana, accessed July 19, 2024,