Warr-Lane Building

Lewistown Central Business Historic District

The banner year of 1913 saw close to $1.5 million spent in Lewistown on construction. Two thirds of that sum went toward new, elegant business blocks. The city’s rapid growth—from approximately a thousand people in 1910 to over five thousand in 1914—predicted a market for commercial space. Entrepreneurs stepped forward to fill the need, among them the founders of the Lewistown Commercial Company, whose principals included local businessmen Austin Warr and James Lane. The company invested $25,000 to construct the three-story Warr-Lane Building, which offered commercial space on the first floor, offices on the second, and two apartments on the third. Renowned Montana architectural firm Link and Haire designed the Beaux Arts style edifice; the firm had a branch in Lewistown, a testament to the community’s sophistication and growth. The architects relied largely on terra cotta to ornament the building. Imported from large, out-of-state manufacturers, the lightweight and easily produced material brought big-city glamour to central Montana. In the Warr-Lane’s case the flamboyant terra-cotta façade features lion heads, Grecian urns, and other ornamental motifs.

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309 West Main Street, Lewistown, Montana ~ Private