Parberry Block East

Dr. William Parberry, who constructed this two-story business block in 1891, was one of White Sulphur Springs’ founders and biggest boosters. The Parberry Block East’s upper story features many Romanesque Revival elements including rounded arches over the windows, intricate stone panel insets within the arches, rough-cut sandstone capitals and lintels, and a decorative pressed-iron pediment. Frontier communities mimicked the Romanesque Revival style for its suggestion of permanence. By incorporating elements from this architectural style, Parberry asserted his belief that this small startup community would prosper for centuries, just as had the buildings of eleventh- and twelfth-century Europe. The first story features plate-glass display windows set in cast-iron frames. Commercial storefronts in larger communities commonly featured large display windows to attract shoppers, but their appearance here is remarkable because the glass likely was transported by ox-drawn wagons from the nearest railhead, forty miles away. In 1893, during a nationwide depression, Parberry’s expectations for the town received a setback. That year, the U.S. government stopped purchasing silver to mint coins, causing the area’s silver mines to close and White Sulphur Springs’ population to fall. Nonetheless, this well-constructed building seldom lacked for tenants. George and Jesse Wiltse opened the first of several clothing stores to occupy the east storefront; their painted business sign is still visible on the east elevation. The west storefront housed various other businesses, including the city’s first major grocery store. Upstairs offered residential rooms and professional offices, including those of the city’s first telephone exchange.



18-20 Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, Montana ~ Private