Filed Under Ronan

Don E. Olsson House and Garage

Homebuilding across the country stopped completely during World War II as materials were diverted to the war effort. When residential construction resumed after the war, architects broke with past traditions and embraced modernism. One-story ranch houses, featuring low-pitched roofs, wide overhanging eaves, and asymmetrical façades became the most popular house type of the 1950s. Widespread automobile use led to new subdivisions with larger lots that allowed for maximum frontage along the streets. The modernist design of this house is reflected in its characteristic ribbon and picture windows, overlooking the Mission Mountains, along with its outdoor space, the partially enclosed patio that connects the homeowners to the outdoors. Local banker Don Olsson and his wife Mildred hired Mildred's brother, Thomas Balzhiser, a graduate of Montana State University, to design the stylish modernist home, one of the first ranch houses in Ronan. He went on to a prominent architectural career in Eugene, Oregon. He returned to Ronan to design the Harald Olsson House at 408 Eisenhower Street and, in 1970, the family-owned Community Bank building. For their 1950-51 house, the Olssons gave Balzhiser almost free range with the design, which includes a typical "Ranch style" open-space floor plan, built-in wardrobes and buffet, and a custom fireplace constructed of horizontally laid stone, quarried near Elmo. Two years after the Olssons moved into their new home, they commissioned Balzhiser to design the garage and, in 1954, the addition to the west. In 1960, they moved to a new Balzhiser-designed house located three miles south of Ronan.

Images

Don E. Olsson House and Garage
Don E. Olsson House and Garage Don E. Olsson House and Garage. Front view of the house and garage, facing west on Fourth Avenue SW in Ronan, Montana. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Rodd Wheaton Date: Oct. 2007
Don E. Olsson House and Garage
Don E. Olsson House and Garage Don E. Olsson House and Garage. Front view of the house and garage structures, facing west to northwest on Fourth Avenue SW in Ronan, Montana. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Rodd Wheaton Date: Oct. 2007
Don E. Olsson House and Garage
Don E. Olsson House and Garage Don E. Olsson House and Garage. Side to rear view of the house on the opposite side of the garage, facing north near the neighbor's house. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Rodd Wheaton Date: Oct. 2007
Don E. Olsson House and Garage
Don E. Olsson House and Garage Don E. Olsson House and Garage. Rear view of the house and the garage, facing south to southeast from the backyard with a glimpse of the Mission Mountain Range in the distance. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Rodd Wheaton Date: Oct. 2007

Location

503 4th Avenue SW, Ronan, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Don E. Olsson House and Garage,” Historic Montana, accessed April 19, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/671.