Walrond and Elizabeth Snell House

Log cabins and canvas tents lined Miles City’s Main Street when Walrond Snell and William Ladd opened their crockery business in the late 1870s. Snell sold his interests in 1883, returning to his native England to marry his sweetheart, Elizabeth Carter. Meanwhile, Ladd commissioned Miles City’s only architect, Bryon Vreeland, to build this home on Lake Street. The original T-shaped dwelling, the first brick home east of the railroad tracks, stood in the empty prairie. While Ladd continued in business, Snell returned with his bride to take up sheep ranching. He became a prominent stockman and contributor to Montana’s wool industry. In 1891, Snell purchased his former partner’s home. The Snells moved to town so their six children could attend school. Elizabeth Snell was the first local music and piano teacher, and the family moved in the most elite social circles. Snell served the community in a variety of civic capacities. He was director of the First National Bank, a county commissioner, and a founder of the Custer County Building Association.  In the 1910s, the Snells expanded their home with an addition at the rear, which featured newly available plate glass windows and a stylish wraparound porch. A central Gothic pavilion, French Second Empire arched windows, and stepped triangle brickwork in the gable are distinctive hallmarks of Vreeland’s original plans. Significant for its association with the prominent Snell family, this charming home is equally important as the last surviving example of Vreeland’s once-popular central pavilion design.

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402 South Lake Street, Miles City, Montana ~ Private