Filed Under Kalispell

Courthouse Historic District

Development of this district came well after Kalispell had become an established regional center. The Flathead County Courthouse, which serves as the district’s focal point, was built in 1903 and long presided in solitary splendor over undeveloped land. Situated half a mile distant from the railroad depot at the opposite end of Main Street, one critic called the location a “monumental blunder.” Even though twin parks were created out of the “buck brush and weed patch” surrounding the building in 1910, pavement and wooden sidewalks at the south end of Main Street were so neglected that Kalispell became infamous for having the “roughest Main Street in the Pacific Northwest.” The Kalispell Townsite Company had held title to many of the fifty-two lots for future business development. By 1927, delinquent taxes and badly needed street improvements had drastically inflated the purchase price. The county assumed the titles, selling the lots at no profit to individual buyers for the cost of street repairs. The Main Street project resulted in the installation of lighting, concrete sidewalks, curbs, and street resurfacing assuring the area’s residential desirability. The character of the well-planned district, developed between 1927 and 1941, reveals a wealth of styles, particularly those employed by local architect Fred Brinkman who designed many of the district’s buildings in Tudor, Gothic Revival, Art Moderne, and Mission styles. Churches, a funeral home, a medical clinic, and residences along with the courthouse complex add unique functional diversity. Most residences now house professional offices accomplishing the aim of early city planners who intended the district to be a logical extension of the commercial center.

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Images

Flathead County Courthouse Flathead County Courthouse. Front view of the building, facing south on South Main Street/US-93 South. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Joe Furshong Date: June-Aug. 2019
Flathead County Courthouse Flathead County Courthouse. Front to side view of the building, facing southwest on South Main Street/US-93 South. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Joe Furshong Date: June-Aug. 2019
Flathead County Courthouse Flathead County Courthouse. Side view of the building, facing west to southwest on South Main Street/US-93 South near the Detention Center to the rear of the facility. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Joe Furshong Date: June-Aug. 2019
Flathead County Courthouse Flathead County Courthouse, facing south on South Main Street, front view of courthouse. Source: MontanaPictures.net Creator: MontanaPictures.net Date: June 2012
Main Street, Looking South, Kalispell, Mont. View looking south on Main St. toward Flathead County Courthouse at far center Source: 948-818 Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT Creator: Unknown photographer Date: ca. 1920

Location

South Main Street, Kalispell, Montana | Private/Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Courthouse Historic District,” Historic Montana, accessed December 5, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/394.