There were two businesses devoted to automobile repair in Kalispell in 1909, and seven blacksmiths. By 1915, the ratio was almost reversed. Mort Fuller and Harry Jones worked here in one of Kalispell’s three remaining blacksmith shops, while seven auto repair shops competed for business. Both men came to tragic ends. Fuller died in 1916 at age thirty-three. Jones was indigent when he died in 1934 from typhoid—likely acquired from eating refuse from the Billings dump. Paris Boyd owned the shop in 1934. His ghost sign still advertises “general blacksmithing and horseshoeing.” His son, Glen, who ran the business from 1936 to 1947, continued to offer “general blacksmithing,” as did his successor, James Schumach, who retired in the 1980s. However, survival in the automobile age required diversification: a second ghost sign advertises “welding, logging, tran repair.” Boyd’s Shop is one of the few remaining false-fronted buildings in Kalispell. Visual icons of the western frontier, false-fronted buildings are typically associated with the earliest period of settlement. False fronts added a touch of style to what were essentially utilitarian structures. They made buildings appear larger and communities appear more settled and sophisticated than they actually were. By the 1910s, when this building was constructed, the twenty-five-year-old City of Kalispell boasted a population of 12,000 and a Main Street lined by elegant brick business blocks. Thus, placing a false front on this building may have been a nostalgic comment on the part of the builders. In any case, it was entirely appropriate for the old-fashioned business within.

Images

Boyd's Shop
Boyd's Shop Boyd's Shop (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R15 F25). Front to side view of the building, facing northwest on 1st Street West. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Sis Ketcher Date: Dec. 1991

Location

227 1st Street West, Kalispell, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Boyd's Shop,” Historic Montana, accessed March 5, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/502.