West Side Historic District, Kalispell

Small farms and orchards dotted the fourteen blocks of this residential neighborhood when the original townsite of Kalispell was platted in 1891. Soon a few wood frame buildings were constructed on its lots for temporary housing and to provide outlying farmers a place to stay during trips to town. By the end of the decade, property owners were replacing these with more substantial residences. The close proximity of the high school (1897) and the county courthouse (1903) helped spur the West Side’s early development. Large Queen Anne and Colonial Revival style residences mingled with more modest gable-front-and-wing style homes, each surrounded by wood rail and chicken wire, picket, or cast iron fences. Flower gardens and fruit trees adorned front yards while vegetable gardens, chicken coops, barns, and privies crowded back yards. By 1910, St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, designed by George Shanley, and the O’Neill House, designed by Marion Riffo, added distinction to the growing neighborhood. Shanley and Riffo, along with Judge Charles Pomeroy, author Margaret Scherf, and poet James Whilt were among the district’s prominent early residents. By the mid twentieth century, many outbuildings had been converted to rentals and larger homes to rooming houses providing accommodations for teachers and high school students living in town for the school year. The rent supplied needed income during hard times. Today the front porches that once offered residents a quiet refuge have mostly been enclosed or removed. Hollyhocks and sweet peas no longer line fences, but shade trees planted by the city decades ago and spacious front lawns preserve the original “homey” atmosphere of this early neighborhood.

610 First Avenue West

A built-in china cabinet with access from two rooms, a bird’s-eye maple floor in the dining room, a breakfast nook with a simple round arch, and an early dishwasher made this stylish 1905 Queen Anne style residence a haven for entertaining. A…

404 Second Avenue West

When twenty-five-year-old housekeeper Cora Brooks Moore lived here with her four-year-old son, she owned the home free of mortgage. She built the simple, one-story gable-front home sometime between 1894 and 1899. At that time, it had a back porch but…

Dreessen Residence

Albert Dreesen and his wife Emma purchased this residence from carpenters W. M. Kelsey and H. G. Seely in 1909. Born in Germany, Dreessen immigrated to Chicago with his family when he was fourteen. He attended night school to learn English and then…

Hegranes House

A second-story Palladian window and a full-length front porch (now enclosed) enliven the façade of this house, built in 1910 for Henry and Josephine Hegranes. In that year, a horse stable off the alley was the nearest building to the Hegranes’…

Jones House

Built by William F. Eckelberry around 1903, this four-square residence features a full basement, a front gabled dormer, a full-width front porch, and a leaded-glass bay window in the dining room. Remodeling efforts in 1910 reduced the recessed porch…

Lee / O'Neil House

Rural families who valued education faced a dilemma when their children graduated from the local one-room school. Many students simply ended their studies after eighth grade. A lucky few, like Mercedes Lee, moved into town for the winter to attend…

Leslie-Dodge House

This side-gabled vernacular style residence was built for English-born veterinarian Charles F. Leslie in 1908. Dr. Leslie, a graduate of Ontario Veterinary College in Toronto, came to Kalispell in 1906 when horses still provided most transportation…

McAllester House

Carpenters Hiram Seeley and William Kelsey built this front-gabled farmhouse on speculation in 1909 and lived here briefly as they finished the interior. The frame two-story house recalls the rural character of the area, when the home sat alone on…

McElroy House

A proud Civil War veteran from Ohio, Joseph McElroy claimed that during his service in the Union army he traveled 27,000 miles, fought in ninety-seven engagements, and escaped from the notorious Andersonville Prison. In 1879, he and his wife, Clara,…

Metcalf House

Thomas E. Chester built this gable-front residence for his bride, Effie, in 1903. Chester’s bookstore, established in 1907, became a Kalispell fixture. John Boorman, secretary of the Montana Forestry Association from 1911 to 1946, lived here briefly…

Pearce House

Kalispell architect Fred Brinkman designed this one-story residence in 1939. Among other large commissions, Brinkman designed the St. Mary's Visitor's Center in Glacier National Park and Linderman School in Kalispell.  The versatile…

Pierce Residence

The unusual architecture of this front-gabled vernacular style residence, built by Alfred Pierce in 1901, sets it apart from its neighbors. One of the first homes built in the neighborhood, it was considered a fairly expensive home at $2,400.…

Ripke House

While most of Montana lost population during the 1930s, Kalispell grew dramatically as people migrated from areas hard hit by drought and economic depression. Contractors like Herbert Yeaw, who built this one-story, wood-sided home, filled the city’s…

Ross House

Three large, hipped roof dormers and a recessed porch define the look of the Ross House, a vernacular home built between 1920 and 1927. The dormers provided a stylish, but inexpensive way to expand the home’s living space; occupants received the…

Rostad House

The Queen Anne style home built before 1903 on this prestigious corner has long been a West Side neighborhood landmark. Its complex floorplan, varied siding, pedimented entry, and two-story bay are vintage Queen Anne. For more than half a century,…

Elmer Sonstelie Residence

Kalispell architect Fred Brinkman designed this one-of-a-kind neighborhood landmark early in his career in 1924. Known for unique designs, Brinkman’s creativity is particularly evident here in the picturesque lattice used as architectural ornament. A…

Steere Residence

This turn-of-the-twentieth-century home and its two outbuildings recall a time when neighborhood residents cultivated backyard gardens and spent leisure hours on front porches. High school principal Eugene Steere purchased the property in 1903. He…

Sundelius House

Dr. Victor Sundelius was the first owner of this charming cottage, built circa 1937. Victor and his brother Fred, both osteopathic physicians, practiced together in Kalispell during the 1930s and 1940s. The brothers were generous to the community,…

Tetrault House

Belsami Tetrault was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1852 and came with her family by covered wagon to the Flathead Valley in the mid-1880s. Her husband Joseph, also a native of Montreal, left his family in 1881 to work on the railroad in the United…

Walker Residence

The Kalispell Bee in 1903 described the newly completed residence of county clerk and recorder James Wiltse Walker as “one of the handsomest dwelling houses in the city.” A classic example of the Queen Anne style, typical architectural elements…

Arthur L. Johnson Residence

Nestled among mature landscaping, this side gabled English-style cottage was home to the Johnson family from the 1940s to 1954. Arthur Louis Johnson came to Montana with his parents and siblings from Ohio during the homestead boom. The family settled…