Lewistown Central Business Historic District

Lewistown’s elegant commercial district was constructed during central Montana’s most prosperous decades, from 1900 to 1920. That era of good weather, and railroad and government publicity, drew thousands of homesteaders into the area. Lewistown grew from 1,100 in 1900 to 6,000 in 1920. Local architects Wasmansdorff and Eastman, and prominent Montana firms including Link & Haire and Kent & Bell employed Beaux Arts and period revival designs. Into those designs they incorporated readily available sandstone and exuberant polychromatic and figured brick and for details, stamped sheet metal and terra cotta. The prominence of stone masonry results from the abundance of building stone in the area and the immigration to Lewistown of experienced, highly skilled Croatian stone masons. After 1911, the Lewistown Brick and Tile Company produced distinctive “Lewistown Red” brick from nearby clay deposits that masons respected for its strength and uniformity. Despite the homestead “bust” of the late teens, Lewistown has continued to grow slowly and serve as a regional commercial, educational, social, and transportation center. Although many first-floor storefronts sustained “fashionable” 1960s and 1970s modifications, the district remains an architectural and historical anchor in central Montana.

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West Main Street, Lewistown, Montana ~ Private