Stone House at Reeder's Alley
Helena Historic District
Dwellings, bunkhouses, and stables dotted the hilltop during the 1880s, forming an extension of Louis Reeder’s housing complex downslope. One prominent stone building, now the largest portion of the present building, contained four small shotgun style apartments; its alley-facing doorways are still evident. George and Laura Duchesney were property managers by 1920 and made their home in the front unit of the little stone house. Laura, a well-known breeder of canaries, filled the tiny apartment with her songbirds. The Duchesneys rented the small dwellings and tenements of Reeder’s Alley almost exclusively to single men as their predecessors had done. But by the 1950s, the area had become increasingly dilapidated. Neglect fueled an unsavory reputation acquired when the red light district was its immediate neighbor. Three Helena matrons were among the few who recognized the historic import of Reeder’s Alley. They began in 1961 with this upper area, joining two small dwellings to the adjacent stone apartments for conversion to a restaurant. The project blossomed, and Reeder’s Alley today is a product of their vision.