William C. Child came to Montana from Iowa in 1870 as an agent for the Wells Fargo Express Company. President U. S. Grant soon appointed him territorial land office registrar and Child made a small fortune in mining investments. This two-story barn, built in 1873, served as a stable and carriage house for the Childs' residence at 305 Ewing. In the 1880s, Child began a ranching operation a few miles east of Helena called the White Face Farm (now the Kleffner Ranch), where he established one of the first herds of purebred Herefords in Montana. The Childs continued to live in their Helena residence. The carriage house, with its massive native fieldstone walls, heavy wooden lintels, and brick arches, is a rare remaining example of early masonry construction. The chicken coop across this alley and the barn at the Kleffner Ranch were also built of native fieldstone. Many of Helena’s early masonry buildings were torn down during the 1880s construction boom or were drastically remodeled. Others were heavily damaged by the 1935 earthquakes and then covered in stucco. This carriage house is a splendid reminder of the era of horse-drawn vehicles. It has added significance as the short-term residence of a famous Montanan, Charles M. Russell. According to old-timers, the much loved cowboy artist temporarily bunked in the loft living quarters once used by the Childs’ groom. Carefully preserved by John and Janice Hollow, the building now serves as a professional office and is an excellent example of adaptive reuse.

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318 East 6th Avenue, Helena, Montana ~ Private