A proud Civil War veteran from Ohio, Joseph McElroy claimed that during his service in the Union army he traveled 27,000 miles, fought in ninety-seven engagements, and escaped from the notorious Andersonville Prison. In 1879, he and his wife, Clara, left Ohio to homestead in the Gallatin Valley, where they grew oats, wheat, and barley and raised three children. The couple retired to Kalispell circa 1902, constructing this comfortable home. Following a common building practice, the main part of the house is one-and-one-half stories while the kitchen is under a separate, one-story roof. Placing the kitchen under a separate roof minimized the risk of a kitchen fire destroying the entire house; the design also provided good ventilation, a boon in hot summers. A covered entry has replaced the full-length front porch that originally greeted visitors. However, the residence’s native rock foundation, clapboard siding, and canted front gable clad with diamond-shaped wooden shingles look much as they did in 1902. The McElroys lived here until their deaths, both in 1920; the property remained in the family until 1941.