Filed Under Helena

Helena South-Central Historic District

This first permanent settlement of the gold camp at Last Chance Gulch offers a glimpse of early Helena from the late 1860s to the 1890s. By the 1870s, a Catholic cathedral, St. John's Hospital, two schools, and dormitories presided over the district atop Catholic Hill. In curious juxtaposition, Helena's red-light district emerged just below along Miller and State streets in the 1880s. Mansions and modest dwellings boasted a wealth of architectural design from Second Empire to Queen Anne, Italianate, and Revival styles. The Northern Pacific Railroad in 1883 spurred economic growth and the population swelled. A German community settled on First Street and other ethnic enclaves localized in the district. The South-Central District remained a preferred location into the early 1880s, and Montana's first governor, J. K. Toole, established residency at Rodney and State streets in 1883. But district vitality waned in the late 1880s when wealthy residents built new mansions on the city's west side. The earthquake of 1935 left its indelible mark claiming most of Catholic Hill and other historic buildings. Wood siding replaced fallen brick veneer and stucco concealed exterior cracks. Though the red-light district and dozens of homes were demolished during 1970s Urban Renewal, this once robust neighborhood is still a quiet reminder of Helena's colorful past.

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Images

Helena South-Central Historic District
Helena South-Central Historic District Helena South-Central Historic District (PAc 91-51 South Central Helena Roll17 F33). Overview of the historic district, facing north to northeast with a view of the St. John's Hospital and Laundry. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1981
Helena South-Central Historic District
Helena South-Central Historic District Helena South-Central Historic District (PAc 91-51 South Central Helena Roll17 F34). Overview of the historic district further back from PAc 91-51 South Central Helean Roll17 F33, facing northeast with a view of the St. John's Hospital and Laundry as well as a better view of the Capitol Building in the background. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1981
Helena South-Central Historic District
Helena South-Central Historic District Helena South-Central Historic District (PAc 91-51 South Central Helena Roll21 F05). Overview of the historic district, facing north with a view of the Bluestone House to the left of center in the photograph and the St. John's Hospital Laundry to the right of center in the photograph. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1981
Helena South-Central Historic District
Helena South-Central Historic District Helena South-Central Historic District (PAc 91-51 South Central Helena Roll21 F06). Overview of the historic district, facing north and to the east from where PAc 91-51 South Central Helena Roll21 F05 was taken with the St. John's Hospital Laundry to the left of center in the photograph. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: 1981
Perspective View of Main (South) and East Elevations - U. S. Assay Office, 206 Broadway Street, Helena, Lewis and Clark County, MT
Perspective View of Main (South) and East Elevations - U. S. Assay Office, 206 Broadway Street, Helena, Lewis and Clark County, MT Perspective view of main (south) and east elevations- U. S. Assay Office, 206 Broadway Street, Helena, Lewis and Clark County, MT Digital ID: hhh linkmt0025-data 1 Call Number: HABS MONT,25-HEL,11- Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Creator: Huntsman, Al, photographer Date: August 1965
North and East Elevation - Lewis & Clark County Courthouse, Broadway, Helena, Lewis and Clark County, MT
North and East Elevation - Lewis & Clark County Courthouse, Broadway, Helena, Lewis and Clark County, MT North and east elevation - Lewis & Clark County Courthouse, Broadway, Helena, Lewis and Clark County, MT Digital ID: hhh mt0020.photos.100595pCall Number: HABS MONT,25-HEL,6- Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Creator: Huntsman, Al, photographer Date: June 1965

Location

Roughly bounded by Davis Street, South Warren Street, Broadway Street, and the city limits, Helena, Montana | Private | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Helena South-Central Historic District,” Historic Montana, accessed May 26, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/52.