Filed Under Virginia City

Pfouts and Russell (Rank's Drug - Old Masonic Temple)

Virginia City National Historic Landmark District

Paris Pfouts, Vigilante president and Virginia City’s first mayor, was instrumental in laying out the town. He and his partner, Samuel Russell, built a log store on this site in summer 1863. Local hell-raiser Jack Slade was arrested here on March 10, 1864, and, in an execution controversial even among the Vigilantes, hanged on a corral gatepost behind the building. Pfouts and Russell constructed the present building in 1865. Lime was not yet available for mortar, so the stone walls were secured with adobe mud. A loyal Mason, Pfouts gave the second floor to the Masonic Lodge. There the Grand Lodge of Montana A.F. & A.M. was founded on January 24, 1866. W. W. Morris moved his drug store, established in the Hangman’s Building in 1864, to this location circa 1877. C. W. Rank bought the business in 1889. He and his wife ran it until 1946. Now housing the oldest continuously operated business in Montana, the building has been little altered since the 1860s.


Rank's Drug Store, Virginia City
Rank's Drug Store, Virginia City View of the front exterior of commercial buildings in Virginia City, Montana. Rank's Drug Store is the central building in this view. This building was previously the site of the Pfouts store in the earlier days of Virginia City. Source: PAc 956-156, Montana Legacy Photograph Collection, Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT. Creator: Unknown photographer Date: 1944
Pfouts & Russel Store/Rank's Drugstore, Virginia City
Pfouts & Russel Store/Rank's Drugstore, Virginia City View looking northeast at building facade Source: Courtesy of Montana Heritage Commission Creator: Kate Steeley, Montana Heritage Commission Date: Oct 2019


211 West Wallace Street, Virginia City, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Pfouts and Russell (Rank's Drug - Old Masonic Temple),” Historic Montana, accessed June 17, 2024,