Montgomery Ward Building
Kalispell Main Steet Historic District (Addendum and Boundary Increase)
Montgomery Ward opened its Kalispell store on July 27, 1929, just three months before the stock market crash that launched the Great Depression. Kalispell architect Fred Brinkman took inspiration from the Gothic style for his design of the 23,000-square-foot building, whose exterior featured pressed tan brick decorated with heraldic medallions and a stepped parapet accented with bell-shaped finials. Although Montgomery Ward’s corporate office in Chicago approved the plans, the building was actually constructed for Kalispell businessman Henry Good, whose logging company supplied the timber. A Missoula builder won the construction contract, but many local subcontractors worked on the project. Montgomery Ward originally agreed to lease the building for five years, but despite the Depression, the lease extended for over fifty. This store was part of an aggressive expansion for Montgomery Ward, which began as a mail-order company in 1872. It opened its first retail outlet in 1926, growing to 531 stores by 1929. Considered on its opening “one of the most up-to-date” Montgomery Ward buildings, the downtown department store carried toys, car accessories, hardware, stoves, radios, paint, and women’s ready-to-wear.