In 1903, an architectural journal called apartment buildings "the most dangerous enemy American domesticity has had to encounter." The article's author joined a chorus of critics who claimed that the proximity of bedrooms to living areas—and the easy access to both by neighbors—encouraged promiscuity. Nevertheless, apartments increasingly attracted middle-class residents and, since apartments were a hallmark of big cities like New York and Chicago, many Montanans embraced them as signs of urban sophistication. That was the Bozeman newspaper's reaction to the Blackmore's construction in 1913. An apartment building, crowed the Courier, is "one of the sure signs that your city is a progressive one … passing from the days of a country town." Designed by architect Fred Willson, and financed by Willson and other prominent city boosters, the Blackmore Apartments boasted twenty-nine units. Each featured "a disappearing bed in the living room," an electric stove, an ice-box, and "a chute to convey garbage to the basement, where it is burned in a heating apparatus that heats the water for the building." A careful designer, Willson minimized the negative aspects of apartment living. For noise reduction and fire protection, he specified brick walls between each unit. Balconies and a U-shaped design assured residents ample sunlight and fresh air. Architectural flourishes include Prairie style elements along the cornice line and a pattern of recessed brick separating the foundation from the upper stories. In 1920, the Blackmore housed a mix of professionals, including merchants, teachers, stenographers, salesmen, a doctor, a milliner, and a druggist.



120 South Black Avenue, Bozeman, Montana ~ Private