Filed Under Virginia City

Lewis / Gohn House

Virginia City National Historic Landmark District

During restoration of this modest dwelling, built in 1864 by J. M. Lewis and later owned by the Gohn family, its unusual construction came to light. Hand-planed planks finely crafted with key joints in between, posts of hand-hewn timbers, and ceiling joists notched to the wall plate with half-dovetailed joints allowed construction without nails. The planks are numbered for ease of assembly. This post-and-plank method is similar to period grain mill construction, and it is possible that the building was disassembled elsewhere and freighted here for reuse. Lewis, who also built three identical houses to the west, apparently harbored a well-kept secret. Inscriptions preserved on the interior walls reveal that he and his friends were Union sympathizers in a town of staunch Confederate supporters.


George E. Gohn House and Jim Emslie House, Virginia City, Montana.
George E. Gohn House and Jim Emslie House, Virginia City, Montana. View of two houses on an elevated lot, above a retaining wall. The house on the left is made of stone with a large porch. The house on the right is wood with two large windows next to the front door. The George E. Gohn house on the left and the James Emslie house (built by J.M. Lewis) on the right located on East Wallace Street in Virginia City, Montana. Source: PAc 956-382. Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT. Creator: Unknown photographer Date: ca. 1910-1945
Lewis/Gohn House, Virginia City
Lewis/Gohn House, Virginia City View looking south at building facade Source: Courtesy of Montana Heritage Commission Creator: Kate Steeley, Montana Heritage Commission Date: Oct 2019


134 East Wallace Street, Virginia City, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Lewis / Gohn House,” Historic Montana, accessed May 21, 2024,