W. L. Adair General Mercantile Historic District

Remote wilderness where a man could live by his own rules drew Bill Adair to northwestern Montana in 1904. He and his wife, Jessie, built a log mercantile on the east side of the North Fork of the Flathead River, supplying goods to the few settlers in the sparsely populated area. When the designation of Glacier National Park in 1910 eliminated homesteading on that side of the river, Adair saw that his future lay across the river where homesteaders continued to settle. Choosing a spot with exceptional fishing nearby, Adair filed a land claim in 1912 and built this cabin of square-notched, unhewn peeled logs. The false-fronted mercantile was completed in 1914. Adair's holdings, maintained with Jessie's help, and later that of second wife Emma, reflected a self-sufficient lifestyle. By 1917 the property included twenty-two acres planted in hay, potatoes, timothy grass, and garden vegetables, four work horses, one hundred chickens, and a milk cow. From 1913 to 1920, Adair's was the only general store in the North Fork region and a favored spot for social events. By 1922 more than 150 homesteads dotted the fifty-mile stretch of valley bottom, but the area never became heavily populated. Even today the Polebridge Mercantile continues to serve its few North Fork residents, while this splendid, unspoiled environment remains largely undiscovered by tourists.



On Polebridge Loop Road 1/4 miles east of its intersection with North Fork Road, Polebridge, Montana ~ Private