Smith/McGovern Barn

Virginia City Historic District

Virginia City’s alleys, just like its main streets, hold many fine examples of territorial-era buildings. This barn, built for surgeon Dr. Ira Smith in 1874, represents a classic Montana horse barn. Virginia City’s earliest barns were built from hand-hewn logs, notched together at the corners. Dr. Smith’s barn, however, was built with milled wood from a local sawmill. It still has sturdy timber framing and rafters, but the milled board-and-batten siding made it a relatively modern barn for the time. Although Dr. Smith had an office on Wallace Street (McGovern Store), his horse and carriage were vital to making house calls to patients in the county. In August 1884, Dr. Smith went to visit a patient, but his carriage overturned en route, killing him instantly. His brothers in the Nevada Masonic Lodge raised funds for his gravestone, which still stands in the Virginia City cemetery. The barn’s subsequent owners added sheds on both sides of the barn by 1904. Dry goods shop owner Hanna McGovern bought the barn in 1914, and it remained in the McGovern family until 1954.

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Jackson Street, Virginia City, Montana ~ Public