Charles K. Wells House

Helena Historic District

Gold-seeking miners once turned the soil in this neighborhood, but when the gold played out, residential development began. Charles K. Wells, whose downtown stationery store was well established by 1870, purchased a large tract of land on Upper Rodney Street. He sold off some of the parcels, but he chose this spectacular corner for his own family home. Wells was a founder of the Helena Board of Trade in 1877 and a prominent civic leader. By the early 1880s, he, his wife Sallie, and their young son occupied a modest dwelling on the lot. Architect John C. Paulsen designed the present home for the Wells family in 1887. Paulsen later rose to state architect and designed many Montana institutions. Early in his career, he honed his talents designing numerous Helena residences and commercial blocks as the town grew by leaps and bounds. The Wells family home exemplifies the booming 1880s. Over the years, changes have obscured many of the original Queen Anne style elements, but the home’s footprint remains unchanged. A magnificent tall, brick chimney survives, revealing close affinities with the flamboyant Victorian era.

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520 South Rodney Street, Helena, Montana ~ Private