The local firm of Wasmandorff and Eastman designed this expressive Craftsman style home with Tudor Revival details for Roy and Ellen Ayers in 1913. The steep, overhanging gable roof, small multi-pane leaded glass windows, and false half-timber woodwork in the gable ends recalls medieval English manor house construction. The elegant upper story in combination with the stately porch and lower walls made from local brick reflects the Ayers’ upper-middle-class status without being overly ostentatious. Ellen, a homemaker and Roy, an attorney, raised a daughter and two boys here and spent more than twenty years cultivating Roy’s impressive political career. Both Roy and Ellen Ayers were born into ranch families and attended rural schools. Roy received his law degree from Valparaiso University in 1903 and served as Fergus County attorney from 1905 to 1909. In 1913, at age thirty-one, he was elected Tenth Judicial District Court Judge. He lost the seat to his Republican neighbor, J. C. Huntoon, in 1922. In 1931, he was elected representative to the U.S. Congress, where he served two terms. In 1936, the Ayers moved to Helena when Roy was elected Montana governor at the height of the Great Depression. During his administration, he expanded state agencies, eliminated the state deficit, and lowered state bond interests. Throughout his life he remained a friend to ranchers, labor unions, and the disadvantaged. The Ayers did not return to this home after Roy lost re-election in 1940, but it remains an outstanding local example of its type and a monument to a remarkable career.

Images

316 8th Ave South, Lewistown
316 8th Ave South, Lewistown View looking northwest at Ayers House, with National Register sign in foreground. Creator: Christine Brown, Montana Historical Society Date: Aug 2019
316 8th Ave South, Lewistown
316 8th Ave South, Lewistown View looking northeast at Ayers House Creator: Christine Brown, Montana Historical Society Date: Aug 2019

Location

316 8th Avenue South, Lewistown, Montana | Private

Metadata

Montana National Register Sign Program, “Ayers House,” Historic Montana, accessed July 12, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2778.