Joseph E. Allen Livery

Helena Historic District

Livery stables rented and boarded horses, providing a critical service in the nineteenth century when transportation depended upon reliable mounts. Allen Livery is Helena’s best preserved reminder of this vital business and also recalls the extraordinary diversity of the Courthouse Square neighborhood. By 1867, William H. Allen established a livery stable here on his former mining claim. Its location, as now, was just steps away from the center of county business. After 1875 when Helena became the territorial capital, government officials, county employees, residents of nearby boardinghouses, and Rodney Street businessmen stabled their horses and leased conveyances from the livery. Allen’s nephew, Joseph, eventually took over the business, replacing the original stable with the present utilitarian stone and brick structure circa 1885. Upstairs lodging accommodated the livery’s hostlers and stablemen. Joseph lived upstairs too until he married in the mid-1890s. In 1912, Joseph’s wife died and he followed her twelve days later. Others then ran the fading business until Lewis and Clark County purchased the building in 1920. A study in early advertising, its many “ghost signs” are remarkably well preserved.

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312-314 Breckenridge Street, Helena, Montana ~ Private