Lindsay Commission Company Warehouse
Northside Missoula Railroad Historic District
The arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad transformed every aspect of life in Montana, including the food available for purchase. Frank Lindsay opened his first fruit warehouse in Helena in 1883, the year the railroad arrived and made importing fresh fruit and vegetables practical. He expanded his business to Bozeman and Billings and in 1909 had this substantial, brick warehouse constructed in Missoula. Missoula architect A. J. Gibson designed the state-of-the-art warehouse, which featured a four-ton, electric-powered ice machine and two refrigeration areas. Oriented toward the tracks, the forty-by-sixty-foot building has an oriel bay, commonly seen on railroad buildings. Such windows were used to pass messages to railroad personnel. Montana fruit farmers, particularly apple farmers in the Bitterroot, stored their crops here before shipping them east. The warehouse also received carloads of apples, apricots, pears, peaches, and other fruit from Washington and points south. Plans for the warehouse even specified a "banana room," attesting to the way fruit wholesalers like Lindsay were able to capitalize on the far-flung rail network and the invention of refrigerated cars to bring exotic provisions to Montanans.