Filed Under Kalispell

City Water Department

Water mains installed and maintained by a privately owned franchise served the city of Kalispell as early as 1892. In 1913, the city purchased the company and its superintendent, William H. Lawrence, remained with the new City Water Department. The city built a new plant at the north end of town, which soon served residents, and by 1927, the city was maintaining more than twenty-one miles of water mains. Lawrence was an able manager and advocate who, among other things, instituted the compilation of annual water department reports that included photographs and descriptions of Kalispell’s buildings. These reports, beginning in 1913, today provide invaluable documentation of Kalispell’s early streetscapes. Another of Superintendent Lawrence’s legacies was the construction of this splendid Georgian Revival style building to house department offices. Designed by architect Fred Brinkman and built with local labor, the one-story building was designed to accept a future second story. Distinctive features include round-arched windows with sidelights and fanlights, an arched balustrade above the entry, Corinthian capitals on pilasters flanking the doorway, and a bracketed cornice. The new building complemented the old city hall, built in 1904 and demolished in 1981, which originally adjoined it on the north. The city jail, later converted to a rooming house/hotel, was on the building’s south side. Although its surroundings have changed greatly through the decades, this marvelous building still serves its original purpose and its attractive façade has escaped alteration.

Images

City Water Department City Water Department (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R01 F21). Front view of the building, facing west to southwest on 1st Avenue East. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Alan Thompson Date: Nov. 1991
City Water Department City Water Department, facing northwest on 1st Avenue East, view of the front of the building. Source: MontanaPictures.net Creator: MontanaPictures.net Date: June 2012

Location

336 1st Avenue East, Kalispell, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “City Water Department,” Historic Montana, accessed December 7, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/504.