109 East Commercial Avenue

Anaconda Commercial Historic District

Benjamin Mahan, pioneer businessman and respected Deer Lodge County Commissioner, opened his first paint and wallpaper store on Main Street in 1885. He later moved to this one-story brick building in April 1916. The store’s distinctive buff-colored brick combined with the contrasting white brick panel in the parapet wall made the small store stand out amongst its older red brick neighbors. Mahan’s store was Anaconda’s source for everything from paint and wallpaper to auto body paint, picture frames, and small appliances. By the mid-1920s, the store sold battery-powered radios and later offered in-home installation when corded (electric) radios were new technology. Mahan died in 1928, but his son-in-law, Fraser Smith, operated the store here until 1938. That year, dentists Earl Turton and Wilbur Beal opened their offices in the front, while the Works Progress Administration (WPA), operated a mattress factory in the rear. This Great Depression-era government relief program made use of surplus cotton and trained jobless men and women to sew mattresses. The Anaconda factory, along with one in Great Falls, made 10,000 mattresses for the needy by 1940.

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109 East Commercial Avenue, Anaconda, MT 59711 ~ private