Bernier House

Helena Historic District

Charles and Frances Bernier had this Minimal Traditional English cottage style home built in 1940. Contractor Bob James likely built the home, and mason Lewis Reid laid the arched white-marble doorway surround. Reid’s distinctive stonework decorates the entrances, fireplaces, and entire façades of many Helena homes. He always used a Celtic bond, a reflection of his Scottish heritage. The Minimal Traditional style grew out of the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Great Depression-era loan program, created in 1934, to finance small homes the average working American could afford. In addition to offering insured, low-interest mortgages, the FHA published house-plan catalogs that promoted modest homes with minimal decoration. Private house-plan publishers followed suit, and by 1949 more than seven million Minimal Traditional style homes were built across the United States. The Berniers lived here for twenty years. Charles was a superintendent at the Montana Power Company until 1946 and a Masonic Lodge member. He also devoted countless hours to promoting Red Cross blood donations and teaching first-aid classes. Frances was a retired teacher and an involved member of the Eastern Star, Helena Women’s Club, and the PEO Sisterhood.

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620 Dearborn, Helena, MT ~ private