Charles A. Broadwater House
Montana promoter and Helena businessman Charles A. Broadwater built this house in 1889, less than a year after he opened his opulent resort hotel and natatorium just across Ten Mile Creek. Broadwater came to Montana Territory in 1862 and made his fortune as a merchant, government contractor, and as one of the partners in the fabled Diamond R Freighting Company. He chose this site for his home because of its proximity to the hotel and natatorium. Prolific Helena architect George Appleton, who also collaborated on the hotel’s design, drew the plans for Broadwater’s residence. Both buildings were of the Shingle style, which was popular among Helena’s upper crust citizens during the late Victorian era. The house includes the best parts of the style, including the steeply pitched intersecting gable roofs sheathed in wood shingles, irregular plan, wood shingle siding, decorative scrollwork, and stained glass windows. The rear of the house has an ornate turret clad in octagonal shingles. Elements of the Romanesque style include the rubble stone exterior wall on the façade and the free-standing chimney. Broadwater built the house not only as a home for his family, but also as a place to entertain guests. The house originally included a full-width, open-air porch designed for social gatherings rather than for family use. The State Nursery and Seed Company did the landscaping to complement the grounds of the hotel and natatorium. Broadwater died in 1892 and the house passed through a series of owners. Painstaking restoration of the interior wood details has maintained the elegance of the residence, making it one of Helena’s preeminent late Victorian-era homes.