Filed Under Kalispell

Federal Building, Kalispell

Despite extreme weather, unstable material markets, a scarcity of labor, and congested railway traffic caused by World War I, this imposing public building was completed on schedule in 1917. Originally built to house the U.S. Post Office, Forest Service, Land Office, and the Weather Bureau, its appearance represents the influential presence of the federal government in the Flathead Valley. James A. Wetmore of the U.S. Treasury Department was the supervising architect. The Kalispell Bee described the Colonial Revival style building as one of the state’s most beautiful edifices. Its interior was a vision of “marble, hardwood, polished brass and gleaming walls.” The first floor housed the post office and postal workroom, outfitted with “every thought for convenience,” including shutters and peep holes through which the postal inspector could secretly view the workers. The lobby was paved with red tile, and an iron gate across the stairway to upper level federal offices allowed customers after-hour access to postal boxes. A spiral staircase led to the roof, where the weather observer’s instruments were installed. The observation equipment was connected to the weatherman’s office by cables so he could “tell all about the weather without going outdoors.” Sensitive expansion in 1978 by the Flathead County Library preserved the building’s outward grandeur, highlighted by elliptical windows, balustraded roof, and overall symmetry. Although the interior was significantly altered, a few original interior finishings do remain intact, including the red tile paving.

Images

Federal Building
Federal Building Federal Building (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R42 F34). Front view of the building, facing east on 1st Avenue East. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Kathy McKay Date: Dec. 1992
Federal Building
Federal Building Federal Building (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R42 F35). Front to side view of the building, facing northeast from the opposite corner on 1st Avenue East and 3rd Street East. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Kathy McKay Date: Dec. 1992
Federal Building
Federal Building Federal Building (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R42 F32). Side to rear view of the building, facing southwest from the neighboring parking lot off of 1st Avenue East. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Kathy McKay Date: Dec. 1992
Federal Building
Federal Building Federal Building (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R42 F33). Front to side view of the building, facing southeast on 1st Avenue East. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Kathy McKay Date: Dec. 1992
Federal Building
Federal Building Federal Building (PAc 91-51 Kalispell R42 F36). Front view of the building, facing east to southeast on 1st Avenue East. Close view of the windows to the right of the building's entrance. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Kathy McKay Date: Dec. 1992

Location

247 1st Avenue East, Kalispell, Montana | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Federal Building, Kalispell,” Historic Montana, accessed April 21, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/507.