Stone buildings constructed by skilled Croatian stonemasons are intrinsic to Lewistown’s unique personality. Peter Tuss, who built this home with Anthony Weingart in 1902, was one such prominent craftsman. Constructed for Citizens’ Electric Company president John L. Bright, the home’s roughly coursed sandstone reveals the stonemason’s art and skill of its builder. The cubic form, low-pitched roof, wide overhanging eaves, and open porch with massive tapered columns define the newly emerging Prairie style. In 1905, Rufus B. Thompson, a prominent sheep rancher, Fergus County legislator, and president of the Empire Bank and Trust Company, acquired the deed. Thompson, his wife Immergene, and their five children used the residence as an “in-town” home. The addition at the back housed the Thompsons’ caretaker, Bill Freeman, whose parents were freed slaves. Bill’s family adopted the name “Freeman” after the Civil War. Rufus Thompson was a large man weighing in at 325 pounds. When he died in 1914, the entire community mourned his great heart and exceptional good humor. Ownership of the property remained in the Thompson family, passing to relatives Ronald and Helen Lewis in the 1940s. From 1943 to 1948, the residence served as the Church of Christ. Since 1948, it has been home to members of the Lewis family. Today, the gracious interior survives with details intact. Lincrusta wainscoting, wood trim with its original finish, paneled staircase, colonnades separating the parlor and dining room, a green marble fireplace, butler’s pantry with built-in china closets, and vintage light fixtures preserve the home’s period ambience.

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702 West Boulevard Street, Lewistown, Montana ~ Private