Beall Park Community Center

The Beall Park Community Center owes its existence to Ella Clark Martin, who arrived in Gallatin County in 1889. While her husband Broox helped establish the Bozeman Milling Company and became president of the Commercial National Bank, Ella raised two sons on a ranch west of Bozeman. After the couple moved into town in 1910, Ella became known as an automobile enthusiast. Stories describe her sneaking up behind parked wagons in her nearly silent electric car before laying on the horn, scaring horses and nearby pedestrians. Staunch Republicans and temperance advocates, the Martins were also devoted philanthropists. Ella, who outlived both Broox and their two sons, continued the family tradition of community giving. In 1922, she financed an outdoor skating rink at Beall Park. In 1926, she hired W. R. Plew, Bozeman professor of architectural and civil engineering, to design this recreation center. With its low pitched roof, exposed rafter tails, triangular knee braces under wide eaves, clipped gable ends, and fieldstone construction, the building exemplifies the Craftsman style. It was an inspired design choice for a park building; advocates of the style believed Craftsman designs would foster an appreciation of nature as a source of spiritual and physical reinvigoration. On its completion, Ella donated the building to the city for use as “a community center where young and old … may gather … and indulge in wholesome recreation.” The building housed the Bozeman Nursery School (c. 1955 to 1983) and the Beall Park Art Center (1983-2007). In 2007, the city restored the structure for Recreation Department offices.

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409 North Bozeman Avenue, Bozeman, Montana ~ Public