Caretaker's Cabin

Helena Historic District

According to reminiscences of the Butts family, builders of the Pioneer Cabin next door, two cabins stood on this lot in 1865. William Davenport likely built one for his family and the William H. Parkinsons occupied the other. Sallie Davenport, later Mrs. A. J. Davidson, was eight when her family arrived from Missouri. She recalled that her cabin’s dirt roof “dripped for days” after a good rain. Twenty-year-old Jeannette Parkinson kept house in the other cabin. Her husband, a longtime steamboat pilot, was then fifty-three. Captain Parkinson turned to freighting and mining when he brought his young wife to Montana. The two tiny cabins served as interim housing and by 1875 had been incorporated into this single residence. Portions of the original log walls are still visible beneath the clapboard. By the mid-1880s, the dwelling marked the southern edge of Helena’s low-rent red light district, where a motley assortment of cabins and cribs stretched from here north to Wall Street. The former house of ill repute was rehabilitated for the caretaker of the Pioneer Cabin.

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212 South Park Avenue, Helena, Montana ~ Private