Davidson Building

Anaconda Commercial Historic District

Architect Jonathon Barlett designed this marvelous business block as an investment property for T. C. Davidson in 1896. Davidson, an Ohio native and Civil War veteran, came to Montana in 1879. In the early 1890s, Davidson moved from his nearby ranch into town, where he later served as both city councilman and county commissioner. Davidson died in 1916, survived by his wife and ten children. Original 1890s building features include splendid arcuated brickwork, granite trim, cast-iron storefronts, and a canted corner entry with a beautiful oriel window. In August of 1922, a spectacular fire originating in a basement warehouse “…ate up everything but the brick walls.” Damage to merchandise and personal property, including that of twenty upstairs rooming-house residents, exceeded $100,000. P. J. Stagg purchased the ruins from Mrs. Davidson and immediately rebuilt. By November a new building had literally risen from the ashes of the old one, and its twenty-seven second-floor rooms had been converted into fourteen apartments. Interior appointments still in place from this historic period include skylights, wood cabinetry, elegant pressed tin ceilings, and fine wood trim. One longtime tenant was Lipman Coldwater, who operated a shoe store on the premises from 1942 to 1974. Coldwater’s is remembered by longtime Anaconda residents as a downtown fixture. The future of the Davidson was again threatened during Urban Renewal in 1979. Thanks to the mighty efforts of a small group of citizens who recognized its significance, the building narrowly escaped demolition. The Davidson is today one of Anaconda’s most outstanding examples of late-nineteenth-century brick masonry and cast-iron storefront construction as well as a grand expression of the vernacular Western Commercial style of architecture.

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301-303 East Park Avenue, Anaconda, Montana ~ Public