Filed Under Helena

Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building

The desire to memorialize the contributions of Montana pioneers and veterans and the need for a state museum converged in 1941. That year, veterans groups, the Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers, and the Montana Pioneers joined together to promote construction of this building. The Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers purchased the site, and veterans groups contributed $48,000 toward the project. Together they lobbied the legislature to earmark money for a combined memorial, museum, and historical library. World War II delayed the project, but after the war, Governor John Bonner pushed through an additional $350,000 appropriation for the building. The groups held an architectural competition, and several Montana firms submitted plans. When the veterans and pioneers voted on the designs by secret ballot at separate conventions, the design of Great Falls architect Angus McIver emerged as the clear winner. The plan featured the sleek lines and balanced asymmetry that characterizes modern architecture at its best. Actually two separate buildings, the striking bronze-trimmed entrance creates a seamless connection between the one-story, windowless museum decorated on the exterior with tile, and the three-story building to the north, whose horizontal ribbons of windows provide the primary ornamentation. After several delays, the building was finally completed in 1953 at a cost of $638,000. The Montana Historical Society soon filled the galleries with exhibits, including a permanent display of Charles M. Russell paintings and sculpture. The state funded building additions in 1970 and 1986 to accommodate the Society’s growing staff and collections.

Images

Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building View of main facade shortly after construction completion Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT Creator: Montana Historical Society Date: ca. 1952
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building View of entire front facade shortly after construction Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT
Creator: Montana Historical Society Date: ca. 1952
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building under construction. Montana Veterans and Pioneers pose for a photograph on dedication day. Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT Creator: Montana Historical Society Date: ca. 1952
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building, historic view of main gallery Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT Creator: Montana Historical Society Date: ca. 1952
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building View of facade in winter Source: Montana Historical Society Date: ca. 2012
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building View of facade and hurd bull sculpture in October Source: Montana Historical Society Date: October 2008
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building View looking north at building facade in October Source: Montana Historical Society Date: October 2013
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building, facing southwest on 6th Avenue with Bob Scriver's "Symbol of the Pros" in the forefront, back view of the building. Source: MontanaPictures.net Creator: MontanaPictures.net Date: Apr. 2011
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building. Rear view of the building, facing west toward Mount Helena and the Montana State Capitol building with North Sanders Street to the photographer's back and 6th Avenue to the photographer's right (north). Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Montana Historical Society Date: Nov. 2003
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building. Front view of the building, facing east to northeast from the front lawn of the Montana State Capitol Building across the street on North Roberts Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Montana Historical Society Date: Nov. 2003
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building Interior view of lobby, looking west toward main entrance doors Source: Montana Historical Society Date: 2015
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building
Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building Interior view of Charles M. Russell Gallery, looking northeast Source: Montana Historical Society Date: Feb 2013

Location

225 North Roberts Street, Helena, Montana | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Montana Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building,” Historic Montana, accessed May 21, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/811.