Filed Under Virginia City

Russell/Baker House

Virginia City Historic District

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.

Images

Russell/Baker House
Russell/Baker House Photo of Russell/Baker house facade. Creator: Owner Date: 2023
Russell/Baker House
Russell/Baker House Photo of Baker house, winter 1944, Virginia City, MT. Creator: Owner Date: 1944
"Death of Col. Samuel Russell"
"Death of Col. Samuel Russell" Obituary in Helena Weekly Herald. Source: Access newspapers.com articles through the MTHS Portal Creator: Helena Weekly Herald Date: 24 December, 1874
"Peoples Party Primaries"
"Peoples Party Primaries" Article from The Madisonian, Virginia City, MT. Source: Access newspapers.com articles through the MTHS Portal Creator: The Madisonian Date: 13 June, 1896
"Accident in Gulch"
"Accident in Gulch" Article in The Times, Virginia City, MT. Source: Access newspapers.com articles through the MTHS Portal Creator: The Times Date: 18 December, 1903
"Strike in a Mine"
"Strike in a Mine" Article in the Alder Gulch Times. Source: Access newspapers.com articles through the MTHS Portal Creator: Alder Gulch Times Date: 4 April, 1903
"Mrs. M. D. Baker Dead"
"Mrs. M. D. Baker Dead" Obituary in The Madisonian, Viriginia City, MT. Source: Access newspapers.com articles through the MTHS Portal Creator: The Madisonian Date: 11 February, 1921
Marion Baker Purchased Two Houses
Marion Baker Purchased Two Houses Article in The Madisonian, Virginia City, MT. Source: Access newspapers.com articles through the MTHS Portal Creator: The Madisonian Date: 2 June, 1950

Location

115 West Cover St, Virginia City, MT | Private

Metadata

Montana Historical Society, “Russell/Baker House,” Historic Montana, accessed July 19, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/3544.