Filed Under Bigfork

Swan River Community Hall

In 1920, the local Rod and Gun Club purchased this acre of land as the site for a community building. Constructed twelve years later, the Swan River Community Hall has served as a locus for valley residents, who gathered here for school functions, card parties, plays, dances, weddings, and funerals. The Grange and Farmers Union met at the facility for years, and roller-skating was an important social activity during the 1950s and 1960s. As one resident recalled, “If we didn’t go to the Hall every week, something was wrong.” Local builder Joe Johnson designed the building, which is made of timber from surrounding state lands and salvaged from abandoned mills. Most of the other building materials were donated, often in lieu of membership fees. Plays and dances also financed the project. The first fundraising play was performed at the school across the road in 1931, and the first dance was an open-air affair held on the Hall’s new birch floor the following summer. The thirty-six-by-sixty-foot structure was completed in 1933. By 1945, an entry hall and two small rooms had been added to the front of the building. The exposed rafter tails, milled trim, lap siding, and shingled gable ends of the addition match those of the original Craftsman design. After a fire burned the rear of the Hall in 1976, the Board considered abandoning it, but an outpouring of support led them to restore the structure. The Hall continues to serve as an important gathering place for this rural Montana community.

Images

Swan River Community Hall
Swan River Community Hall Swan River Community Hall. Front to side view of the building, facing east on Swan River Road. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2001
Swan River Community Hall
Swan River Community Hall Swan River Community Hall. Front to side view of the building, facing southeast on Swan River Road. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2001
Swan River Community Hall
Swan River Community Hall Swan River Community Hall. Rear to side view of the building, facing southwest from the parking lot off of Swan River Road. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2001
Swan River Community Hall
Swan River Community Hall Swan River Community Hall. Front view of the building, facing east on Swan River Road. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 2001
Swan River Community Hall
Swan River Community Hall Swan River Community Hall. North elevation of the building, view to the south on Swan River Road. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Julian Boughton Date: May 2023
Swan River Community Hall
Swan River Community Hall Swan River Community Hall. North elevation and front of the building, view to the southeast on Swan River Road. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Julian Boughton Date: May 2023
Swan River Community Hall
Swan River Community Hall Swan River Community Hall. Front of the building, view to the east on Swan River Road. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Julian Boughton Date: May 2023

Location

115 Swan River Road, Bigfork, Montana | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Swan River Community Hall,” Historic Montana, accessed May 30, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/390.