John and Louise Cox House

East Side Neighborhood Historic District

In the 1920s, Great Falls builder George Calvert filled this block with single-family houses, some on speculation, and others for specific clients. He constructed this house for Great Northern Railway conductor John Cox, his wife Louisa, and their one-year-old son, John, in 1919. A single story with a full basement, the residence features distinctive decorative shingles as well as the more typical lap-wood siding. Wide overhanging eaves, decorative wooden brackets, and battered porch supports are among the home’s Craftsman style features. Before 1934, when the federal government created the Federal Housing Administration—a New Deal agency dedicated to stimulating the economy by aiding potential homebuyers—large down payments and short-term mortgages were the norm. To build this home, John Cox took a small mortgage from the Goodrich Call Lumber Company, a loan he repaid by 1922. That same year, daughter Ruth was born. The Coxes clearly loved the residence, which became their lifelong home. Sometime before 1950, the family enclosed the front porch and built a rear addition. John died in 1958, but Louisa remained here until shortly before her death in 1980.

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1517 Central Avenue, Great Falls, Montana ~ Private