Filed Under Virginia City

Henderson's Paint Shop

Virginia City Historic District

John Henderson’s painting business occupied this humble log building beginning in 1864. In addition to painting buildings, Henderson also offered decorative painting and sign writing. In Virginia City’s boom days, when new buildings on Wallace Street emerged and changed owners often, Henderson’s artistic hand was in high demand. He designed and hand-painted a wide variety of signs from large dry goods store and political campaign signs to small hand-lettered signs on office doors. He even labeled and decorated Virginia City’s first hook and ladder fire wagon in 1865. Henderson was an active member of the Virginia City Masonic Lodge No. 1, ran for alderman in 1865, and county treasurer in 1867. Virginia City’s building boom faded by the late 1860s, and like so many other early territorial entrepreneurs, Henderson moved to Helena in 1868. Nevertheless, the name Henderson’s Paint Shop stayed with the building for years after. Henderson’s shop remained a practical rental property owned by several successful Virginia City residents, including blacksmith George Thexton, businessman James Vanderbeck, Montana’s sixth governor Sam Stewart, and builder/butcher George Vickers.


Henderson's Paint Shop, Virginia City
Henderson's Paint Shop, Virginia City View looking north at cabin facade Source: Courtesy of Montana Heritage Commission Creator: Kate Steeley, Montana Heritage Commission Date: Oct 2019


Virginia City, Montana | Private


Montana National Register Sign Program, “Henderson's Paint Shop,” Historic Montana, accessed April 19, 2024,