Italian stonemason Michael Jacobs built this outstanding Eclectic style house for his family in 1907. Born Michelangelo Jacobucci, Jacobs apprenticed in Vinchiaturo, Italy, before joining his brother Gabriel in the United States circa 1878. The brothers soon found work in Chicago, where Michael also attended night school in architecture. In 1901, the Montana Sandstone Company recruited Jacobs to become foreman of the Columbus quarry, best known for providing the stone for the Montana state capitol. By 1906, he had become superintendent. He later formed Stillwater Monumental Works, which created ornately carved cemetery markers. Jacobs’ skill and building trades connections are apparent in the sandstone residence. In 1906, Jacobs shared a floorplan his wife Hannah had sketched with noted Helena architect J. G. Link and asked Link to draw up plans. In 1907, when orders were slow, he kept his quarrymen busy cutting stone for the house. Huge sandstone blocks from Jacobs’ quarry form the exterior walls. Jacobs likely carved the intricate sandstone details himself, including the decorative flowers and scrollwork, balustrades, finials, and a carved lion’s head, which functions as a downspout. The home’s Renaissance Revival elements include its low-pitched, hipped roof, Corinthian columns, and arched windows. The most prominent decorative feature is the curvilinear stone parapet. The parapet’s shape, if not its material, mimics those found on Spanish Colonial style missions. Jacobs may have encountered the style at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, where the design of the California Building brought it to public attention.

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4 West 1st Avenue North, Columbus, MT ~ private