Herndon and Donaldson Furniture Store

Virginia City Historic District

In 1865, on this site, the Montana Bowling Saloon offered “good exercise, choice Liquors and Cigars,” at fifty cents a roll. Circa 1873, contractor and lumber dealer William Thompson replaced that building with a Greek Revival storefront, whose ornamental cornice looked much like the one next door. Thompson’s partners J. M. Herndon and W. M. Donaldson operated a furniture store here as well as a lumberyard to the left of the building. Thompson and Donaldson left the partnership by 1888, but Herndon stayed on for over forty years. Like many furniture stores, the shop also sold “coffin trimmings” and caskets. For furniture-makers, making coffins—a deceased’s last piece of furniture—was a logical offshoot. Herndon closed the business, which had added undertaking services, circa 1917. The building then became home to the Virginia City Woman’s Club library until the Thompson-Hickman Library opened in 1922. After the library opened, B. T. Fayle purchased the property, where according to locals, he ran a bootleg saloon during Prohibition. In 1947, The Tavern Saloon opened here, continuing in operation until 1978.

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118 W Wallace St., Virginia City, MT ~ public