Crystal Saloon

Billings Old Town Historic District

Billings rancher and businessman James R. Conway built this handsome, brick, double-front store with an upstairs boardinghouse in 1900. Conway opened the Crystal Saloon in the west half and J. C. Staffek ran a cigar shop in the east half. The two businesses were among many saloons, cigar stores, and cafes located near the tracks that served railroad, warehouse, and factory workers as well as homesteaders, farmers, and ranchers passing through. While the first-floor façade has seen many alterations, the paired arched windows, rusticated stone sills, and dentil (tooth) pattern masonry on the second floor still reflect the Romanesque Revival style. During the early 1900s, this neighborhood hosted a large Asian immigrant community. The Shong Hoi Noodle Parlor opened here in 1914, and in 1919 Japanese immigrants George Taketa and Nabikichi Morimoto opened a cafe. The building’s longest operating business, the Oasis Bar, served a rowdy crowd from 1954 to the early 2000s. Although this area suffered a bad reputation from the 1920s until the end of the twentieth century, revitalization efforts in the early 2000s have preserved many buildings and attracted new businesses.

Images

Map

2718 Minnesota Avenue, Billings, MT 59101 ~ private