17-19 South Rodney Street
Helena Historic District
In September 1887, the Helena Weekly Herald noted "nine first-class brick residences" under construction on South Rodney Street. Among them were three nearly identical duplexes, called Galen Estates after one of the development's principal investors. A trader who first visited the area in 1858, Hugh Galen settled in Helena in 1866. The multifaceted businessman ran a freighting company, operated a stage line, owned several large ranches, served as one-time president of the Capital Lighting Company, and was a director of the Montana National Bank. Simply ornamented with a metal cornice and stained-glass transoms above the front picture windows, this two-story building originally provided rental housing for Helena's elite. In 1890, "capitalist" and large-scale sheep rancher Henry Cannon resided in the north duplex with his wife Emma and their live-in servant. Successful merchant James Wells lived in the south duplex. After Helena's wealthiest citizens migrated to the West Side, the class of tenant changed. By 1933, the duplex had been converted into a four-unit building, which housed the families of a miner, an auditor, a smelter worker, and a Northern Pacific watchman.