Filed Under Helena

St. Louis Block

Helena Historic District

Once connected to the old St. Louis Hotel on Jackson Street, this 1882 building in the heart of Helena’s original downtown displays the metal cornices and banded, pedimented windows typical of Italianate style architecture of the time. Pioneer businessman Frederick Gamer’s boot and shoe shop, founded in 1867, was located here for many years. The St. Louis Block also housed a bank, a vaudeville house, a saloon, and a bowling alley. It is probably best remembered, however, as “Big Dorothy’s,” which, until 1973, was the last in a long and colorful succession of Helena’s red-light district brothels.

Images

St. Louis Block St. Louis Block. Front to side view of the building, facing southeast on South Last Chance Gulch. The Boston Block is featured in the background to the right in the photograph. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: Jan. 2020
St. Louis Block St. Louis Block. Front view of the building, facing east on South Last Chance Gulch. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: Jan. 2020
St. Louis Block St. Louis Block. Front view of the building, facing northeast on South Last Chance Gulch with the Boston Block in the foreground to the right in the photograph. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: Jan. 2020

Location

17-21 South Last Chance Gulch, Helena, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “St. Louis Block,” Historic Montana, accessed February 1, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/747.