Filed Under Billings

1023 North 31st Street

North Elevation Historic District

Alice Bell lived in this cross-gable residence for over fifty years. She and husband Frank moved here with their two young children in 1914. Narrow clapboard siding, gable-end returns, and multipaned windows give the home an understated elegance. Frank was a prominent dentist, who brought the first electric drill to Billings. However, he was even better known as a pilot. After attending flight school and earning his pilot’s license in San Diego, he returned to Billings with his own airplane. Eight thousand spectators—some of whom arrived in Billings on special excursion trains from Red Lodge and Lewistown—gathered to watch Dr. Bell’s aerial display on May 30, 1913. Bell flew from Billings to Laurel and then to Park City, the longest flight in Montana at the time. Artist J. K. Rolston commemorated Bell’s flight in a 1958 mural, which remains on display in the Billings airport. The Bells clearly loved the home and the neighborhood. Son Norman, who joined his father’s dentistry practice, purchased a house just down the street in 1939.

Images

1023 North 31st Street 1023 North 31st Street. Front view of the house and garage, facing north near the driveway on North 31st Street. Photograph in the early fall. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Unknown photographer Date: Sept. 2009
1023 North 31st Street 1023 North 31st Street. Front view of the house, facing north on North 31st Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: D. Eddy Date: Nov. 1980

Location

1023 North 31st Street, Billings, Montana | Private

Metadata

Montana National Register Sign Program, “1023 North 31st Street,” Historic Montana, accessed December 3, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2776.