Filed Under Bigfork

Kootenai Lodge Historic District

Cornelius Kelley and Orvis Evans, aspiring young attorneys for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, purchased this former homestead site in 1908 as a seasonal family retreat. Both men rose to positions of great power and wealth. Kelley became president of ACM and vice president of Standard Oil, moving in 1918 to an 80-room mansion in Manhasset, New York. Evans became chief counsel for both the Anaconda Copper Mining and Montana Power Companies. Together they expanded their rustic family retreat between 1914 and 1928, transforming it into a sprawling two million dollar, 2,700-acre vacation resort for business associates and company executives. The finely crafted, elegantly appointed collection of log buildings and exquisite landscaping represent a most unusual juxtaposition of urban opulence and Arts and Crafts-inspired "rustic" architecture against a backdrop of remote mountain timberland. Upturned rooflines on lakeshore arbors, "Yin and Yang" placement of outdoor flagstones, and peaceful gardens radiate Japanese charm. Etchings in concrete around the main lodge courtyard are attributed to the famous Montana artist Charlie Russell, who was once a regular visitor. During hard times of the 1920s, the Lodge bolstered the local economy, employing many area craftsmen and seventy domestic servants. Today, the privately owned buildings and grounds quite literally "sing" into the landscape, harmonizing with the mountain lake setting.


Kootenai Lodge Historic District
Kootenai Lodge Historic District Kootenai Lodge Historic District. Front view of the Office building, orientation difficult to determine within the district. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Date unknown


13365 Sunburst Drive, Big Fork, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Kootenai Lodge Historic District,” Historic Montana, accessed April 23, 2024,