Joseph K. Toole Mansion

Helena Historic District

During his second term of office in 1903, Montana’s first governor J. K. Toole commissioned Eugene Fisk to build this magnificent home of locally quarried red porphyry and brick. Fisk, who also designed the 1880s Unitarian Church (now Grandstreet Theatre), added exquisite interior finishings and an unusual simulated tile roof of galvanized sheet metal. The residence served as executive mansion during Governor Toole’s third term from 1904 to 1908. The Toole family had been in residence a short time when the escape of a prisoner from the nearby jail precipitated a gun battle. The escapee tried to take refuge in the Toole’s basement, but instead took his own life in the basement stairwell. The home was a private residence until the Catholic Diocese assumed ownership, housing scores of Cuban refugees here in the early 1960s, and, later, Carroll College students. Since 1979, the resident law firm has carefully refurbished and maintained this elegant corner landmark.

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203 North Ewing Street, Helena, Montana ~ Private