Wellman Block

The local hot springs had been a business enterprise for almost a decade when in 1880 brothers William H. and Robert N. Sutherlin moved their newspaper, the Rocky Mountain Husbandman, from the waning gold camp at Diamond City to the promising town of White Sulphur Springs. The brothers purchased property from Dr. William Parberry, built this combination business and residential block as an investment, and the commercial district quickly grew around it. Soon the town boasted daily stages to Helena, two doctors, a school, and some twenty businesses. James MacDonald set up a harness shop and saddlery here, purchasing the building in 1884 for eight hundred dollars. After the turn of the twentieth century, harness maker William Wellman continued the leather business, buying the building in 1907. Wellman, a longtime resident who settled here in the mid 1880s, remodeled the building’s façade in 1911 after a disastrous downtown fire. A fashionable pressed metal cornice with nameplate and spacious display windows added new vitality to the town landmark. In 1936, Robert Gordon, son of African-American parents who settled here in the 1880s, inherited the building. Robert’s brother, noted gospel singer and author Immanuel “Taylor” Gordon, operated an antique store and managed the second-floor apartments. Between 1938 and 1954 the building also housed the local post office. Now returned to its former use as a saddlery and beautifully refurbished, the Wellman Block, with its arched windows and decorative false front, is a stylish example of small-town Western Commercial architecture.



206 East Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, Montana ~ Private