Lewistown Central Business Historic District

Lewistown’s elegant commercial district was constructed during central Montana’s most prosperous decades, from 1900 to 1920. That era of good weather, and railroad and government publicity, drew thousands of homesteaders into the area. Lewistown grew from 1,100 in 1900 to 6,000 in 1920. Local architects Wasmansdorff and Eastman, and prominent Montana firms including Link & Haire and Kent & Bell employed Beaux Arts and period revival designs. Into those designs they incorporated readily available sandstone and exuberant polychromatic and figured brick and for details, stamped sheet metal and terra cotta. The prominence of stone masonry results from the abundance of building stone in the area and the immigration to Lewistown of experienced, highly skilled Croatian stone masons. After 1911, the Lewistown Brick and Tile Company produced distinctive “Lewistown Red” brick from nearby clay deposits that masons respected for its strength and uniformity. Despite the homestead “bust” of the late teens, Lewistown has continued to grow slowly and serve as a regional commercial, educational, social, and transportation center. Although many first-floor storefronts sustained “fashionable” 1960s and 1970s modifications, the district remains an architectural and historical anchor in central Montana.

Knerr-Tubb Block / Armory Hall

Rubble stone construction with brick veneer became Main Street’s preferred design after 1909. The elegant façade of this business block is an early example of the newer style, constructed before 1911 when locally produced bricks became available.…

521 West Main

In March of 1914, four hundred local business owners protested locating Lewistown’s new post office on this site, claiming that the call for bids was not properly advertised. Most favored housing the post office in the Masonic Temple building.…

Attix Clinic

Dr. Frederick F. Attix came to Lewistown in 1901 where he set up one of the first local medical practices. Dr. Attix traveled 70,000 miles in his horse and buggy visiting patients in mining camps, often operating by lamplight in bunkhouses. On April…

Bank of Fergus County

Kent and Bell, designers of the Montana State Capitol, drew the plans for this Renaissance Revival/Beaux Arts-inspired building of sandstone and brick, completed in 1904. The bank was Lewistown’s first, founded in 1887 by S. S. Hobson, James H. Moe,…

Bon Ton

Built around 1893, the Bon-Ton is one of four remaining pre-1900 masonry structures in the Central Business Historic District. The term bon-ton means “a good or elegant form or style; regarded as fashionably correct.” This structure is an excellent…

Hopkins Grocery

Welsh immigrant Archibald Hopkins settled in central Montana in the 1870s, where he raised produce for sale to local markets. Hopkins watched Lewistown grow from a small trading post to an established community before linking his fortunes to the…

The Hub

Lewistown’s population tripled between 1900 and 1910 and the booming building trade attracted stonemasons and craftsmen, many of them Croatian immigrants, who settled here. The upper façade of this 1908 one-story commercial building, revealed during…

Laux Building

Philip Laux came to Montana in 1885 from Germany and worked in a Helena stone quarry until he relocated to Lewistown in 1890. Two of the earliest stone builders in Lewistown, brothers John and Philip Laux built many local buildings. This 1905…

Mackey Building (Montana Tavern)

Constructed during the 1911 half-million-dollar Lewistown building boom, the $20,000 Mackey Building sits directly over Big Spring Creek. A blend of Romanesque and Classical Revival styles, the structure maintains much of its original façade,…

McDonald & Charters Block

The beautiful blending of brick and handcut stone in this 1905 business block serves as a fine example of Lewistown’s distinctive architecture. Romanesque Revival arches, Renaissance Revival wall layering, and an Italianate cornice speak to the…

Melchert's Bakery

The Melchert Bakery Building exemplifies the popular use of masonry façades throughout the Central Business Historic District. The structure retains its original decorative brick façade. Lawyer Roy E. Ayres paid for the construction of the one-story,…

Montana Building

This elaborate six-story brick structure represents a visible sign of the stability and prosperity in Lewistown in 1916 and stands as the architectural anchor of the Central Business District. The construction of this mixed Neoclassical and Revival…

Phillips Drug Company

One of four remaining pre-1900 masonry structures in the 300 block of Main, this structure at 322 and 324 West Main Street originally housed a restaurant and drug store. “Prescriptions our Specialty” proclaimed an early advertisement for the Phillips…

Power Mercantile Building

Possibly one of the first architect-designed stone buildings along Main Street, the Power Mercantile Building is the most visible example of Lewistown’s stone architecture. Merchant Francis Janeaux became indebted to supplier T. C. Power and lost his…

Slater Block

Slater brothers William, John, and Henry sold their business, the Palace Meat Co., in 1913. With capital from the sale and an abundance of faith in their steadily growing community, they built this three-story commercial block. The local…

US Land Office / Warr Building

A man of vision and foresight, Austin W. Warr contributed to the financial development of early Lewistown. Warr established many of Lewistown’s founding companies, became a key figure in the development of Central Montana, and helped ensure the…

Warr Building

Austin W. Warr employed renowned architect John H. Kent—one of the architects for the Montana Capitol Building—to design the Warr Building. Warr organized the Lewistown Telephone Company in 1899. Upon completion of this new office building in 1904,…

Warr-Lane Building

The banner year of 1913 saw close to $1.5 million spent in Lewistown on construction. Two thirds of that sum went toward new, elegant business blocks. The city’s rapid growth—from approximately a thousand people in 1910 to over five thousand in…

Wiedeman Apartments

As Lewistown’s population doubled between 1910 and 1920, the community found itself short on living space. According to the paper, newcomers had difficulty procuring “even the most indifferent dwelling accommodations.” G. R. Wiedeman capitalized on…

Lewistown Mercantile Company

Rail transportation in the early twentieth century brought homesteaders to Fergus and cemented Lewistown’s role as a regional commercial center. The General Brokerage Company of Grand Rapids, North Dakota, financed this stunning warehouse for the…