Elling House

Virginia City National Historic Landmark District

Three elegant Gothic windows embellish this sprawling stone mansion built for wealthy banker Henry Elling in 1876. The Gothic style was already outdated by the 1870s, but in remote mining camps it served as a visual reminder of urban places far away. German-born Elling worked his way west, learning English, and saving his money. Arriving at Virginia City in October 1864, he established a successful mercantile, but banking later made him wealthy. Elling married schoolteacher Mary Cooley in 1870, and the couple had ten children. When Elling died in 1900, Mary donated funds in memory of her husband to help build the Episcopal Church. Renowned for her warm hospitality, Mary added a ballroom onto the back of the house in 1902. She often gave parties, inviting the public into her home. Her death in 1924 saddened the community. Mourners sent many floral tributes, prompting the Madisonian to remark that Mary Elling was “beautiful in life, and beautiful in death.” The interior of the older, front portion of the home includes the original huge stone fireplace and beautiful oak floors and woodwork. 



404 East Idaho Street, Virginia City, Montana ~ Private