St. Joseph, Missouri, mercantile owner Samuel Russell had a log cabin built on this lot circa 1864. He and Vigilante leader Paris Pfouts (Virginia City’s first mayor) operated a general merchandise store on Wallace Street, where Montana’s first Masons met. Samuel traveled to and from Missouri to supply his store and, despite being a part-time resident, served as President of Montana’s Fifth Territorial Legislative Council in 1868. Michigan natives Marion and Clara Baker purchased the lot and the one next door in 1885. They raised six children here while Marion worked for Alder Gulch Consolidated Mining Company and developed nearby gold claims. Marion ran unsuccessfully for the Montana House of Representatives in 1892 on the Populist ticket. Founded in 1891 to improve conditions for farmers and workers, the party advocated for silver-backed currency, a position popular with miners. The Bakers likely replaced the log cabin with this shotgun-plan home in the late 1880s and added a stone retaining wall, front porch with spindlework posts, and a rear addition in the early 1900s. Vernacular (builder-designed) cottages like this one replaced many of the town’s log cabins in the 1870s and 1880s.