John Frey House

Helena Historic District

Lucy Healey kept house for her seven children in a small dwelling on this property during the 1870s. Her husband left in 1876 and was rumored to have taken up with a “lewd woman” in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. The court granted Lucy a divorce and decreed her the property owner in 1881; Lucy thereafter considered herself a widow. John Frey bought the property in 1884 and constructed this substantial home, perhaps incorporating the Healeys’ dwelling. Frey rose from jailer to policeman and from police sergeant to constable. This public servant had an interesting penchant for mortgaging his property to various businessmen and thus styled himself a “capitalist.” The simple L-shaped plan is little altered, although the brick-veneered front and west wing have long been stuccoed. An octagonal bay and arched windows with delicately stenciled infills reflect the height of 1880s’ fashion. Bull’s-eye moldings, high ceilings, pocket doors, and the original relocated front entry reveal high quality interior finishing in this modest, but well-appointed, historic home.

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327 East State Street, Helena, Montana ~ Private