Filed Under Kalispell

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.

Images

Montgomery Ward Building, street view photo adhered to National Register form (verso unavailable) b&w print [placeholder image until better quality is identified and digitized] Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: ca. 1980
Montgomery Ward Building, street view photo adhered to National Register form (verso unavailable) b&w print [placeholder image until better quality is identified and digitized] Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: ca. 1980
View Looking North on Main Street, Kalispell, Montana. Prominently visible buildings and establishments include (from left to right) H.C. Woodward Co., Electrik Bakery, J.C. Penney Co., Gamble's, Montgomery Ward. The street is full of parked automobiles with a couple driving in the street. Several Coca-Cola advertisement signs are visible in the scene. PAc 2013-50 Box 2-07 Kalispell - Main Street north - 1950-60 Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana Creator: Photograph by Guest, Kalispell, Mont. Date: ca. 1950-1960

Location

333 South Main Street, Kalispell, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Montgomery Ward Building,” Historic Montana, accessed February 4, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/472.