Filed Under Kalispell

McIntosh Opera House

Kalispell Main Steet Historic District (Addendum and Boundary Increase)

The opening of this grand opera house, built by John McIntosh in 1896, confirmed Kalispell’s growing regional importance. Traveling theatrical groups brought elaborate scenery that transformed the second-floor theater. When one early performance of Uncle Tom’s Cabin drew a record crowd of 1,132, patrons stood on benches, in the gallery, and in the window sills. McIntosh’s hardware and Harvey Cannon’s gentlemen’s clothing stores were the original ground-floor businesses. Over the years McIntosh sold everything from tinware, stoves, pianos, and musical supplies to Studebaker buggies, cars, and tractors. The upstairs Opera House long served the community as meeting hall, school auditorium, gymnasium, and ballroom. For a time between 1905 and 1906, its hardwood floor became a splendid roller skating rink. A catastrophic fire in 1935 ended the building’s long service as a theater, but the sturdy survivor with its fine decorative brickwork remains one of Main Street’s largest and most prominenet fixtures.


McIntosh Opera House
McIntosh Opera House b&w Oversize Photo. captioned 'McIntosh Opera House, 1906'. Source: Image available on the Montana History Portal, contributing institution Museum at Central School Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: 1906
McIntosh Opera House, corner view.
McIntosh Opera House, corner view. Opera Block, Kalispell, Mont. McIntosh Hardware Co. signs painted on side of building and the Farmers Protective Association occupies the lower level. No postmark; unused postcard. PAc 2013-50 Kalispell - Buildings, General - Opera Block Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: Publisher unknown Date: no date
1st looking west from the roof of the West Hotel
1st looking west from the roof of the West Hotel Looking west down 1st St. Taken from the roof of the West Hotel 47 1st Ave. E. McIntosh Hardware/Opera House may be viewed mid-distance. Source: Montana History Portal Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: ca. 1900
McIntosh Opera House, street view
McIntosh Opera House, street view photo adhered to information sheet with Ref. # obscured (verso unavailable) b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: ca. 1990s


48 South Main Street, Kalispell, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “McIntosh Opera House,” Historic Montana, accessed July 12, 2024,