Filed Under Red Lodge

Whitcomb Garage

Red Lodge Commercial Historic District

J. A. Rose built a one-story blacksmith and wheelwright shop on this corner about 1905, establishing a long tradition of transportation-related businesses on the lot. Rose made and repaired wagon wheels, horse tack, and iron carriage parts. As automobiles supplanted horse-drawn transport, Nels Rogness established a Studebaker sales and service station here in 1917. In 1925, brothers A. B. and Archie Whitcomb purchased the building and continued operating it as a service station, tire, and blacksmith shop. Archie, with sons Byron and Arnold, bought out A. B. in 1928. In 1936, completion of the Beartooth Scenic Highway through Red Lodge secured the town’s future as a tourist stop. That year, the Whitcombs demolished the original building, purchased the vacant lot next door, and built a Streamline Moderne style service station and auto dealership. They started selling Pontiacs in 1937 and Willys Jeeps in 1947. The Whitcombs expanded into the building next door in 1948 and remained in business until 1976. Ray Judd Ford purchased the business, continuing the operation until 2018. It is the site of one of the longest continuously operating service stations in Montana.

Images

Whitcomb Garage, Red Lodge, MT View of facade with restored Yellowstone National Park bus out front. The garage is currently used to store vintage Yellowstone National Park tour buses operated by the Buses of Yellowstone Preservation Trust. Source: Buses of Yellowstone Preservation Trust Date: 2020
Whitcomb Garage, Red Lodge, MT View of facade when the station was a Texaco gas and service station, ca. 1970. Source: Black and white photo courtesy of David Whitcomb Date: ca. 1970
Whitcomb Garage, Red Lodge, MT View of facade when it was a Texaco gas and service station in the 1960s. Note the original gas pump and to the left the eagle statue on the red pedestal. Source: Color photograph courtesy of David Whitcomb Date: ca. 1967
Whitcomb Garage, Red Lodge, MT View of Whitcomb Garage when it was a Mobil gas and service station and Willy's Jeep dealer in the early to mid-1960s. Source: Color photograph courtesy of David Whitcomb Date: ca. 1966
Whitcomb Garage, Red Lodge, MT View of facade ca. 1948 when it was a Mobilgas service station and Willy's Jeep dealer. Note the three gas pumps and the original gas pump on the left. Source: Black and white photo courtesy of David Whitcomb Date: ca. 1948
Whitcomb Garage, Red Lodge, MT View of facade in the late 1930s Source: Black and white photo courtesy of David Whitcomb Date: ca. 1939
Whitcomb Garage, Red Lodge, MT View of the original A. D. Whitcomb Garage, ca. 1926. Source: Black and white photo courtesy of David Whitcomb Date: ca. 1926

Location

124 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT | private

Metadata

Montana Historical Society, “Whitcomb Garage,” Historic Montana, accessed November 28, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/3346.