University Area Historic District

Prominent business rivals C. P. Higgins and A. B. Hammond and others began to invest in this area during the late 1880s, platting additions and naming the streets after their children and associates. Creation of The University of Montana in 1893 prompted both the Hammond and Higgins families to donate land for the new campus, believing that the university would foster residential growth nearby. Building began in earnest circa 1900. The City of Missoula landscaped the boulevards and by 1912, paved the streets; electric trolleys, streetlights, and beautification efforts were all visible. Broad shaded boulevards, lawns, and elegant mansions of Missoula’s pioneers showcase the work of such noted architects as A. J. Gibson, H. E. Kirkemo, John G. Link and C. S. Haire, and others. Yet for all its grand appearance, residents have always considered the district to be a “quaint and quiet place” for families. Even the most elaborate houses were touted as “real” family homes with livable rooms and practical amenities. As the university experienced growth over the decades, apartments, old family mansions purchased by fraternities and sororities, and modest bungalows began to appear side by side along the forty-plus blocks bridging the area between campus and downtown. Yet, as it was at the turn of the century, the university neighborhood today is a cohesive community built upon the same early-nineteenth-century ideals of moderate living. Whether mansion or bungalow, the historic University Area reinforces the notion that Missoula is a city that respects and enjoys its history.  

140 University Avenue

Advertised as “The Choice Residence Section of Missoula,” the Hammond Addition attracted successful businessmen like David J. Haviland, who could afford the exclusivity the neighborhood offered. Lots in the Hammond Addition cost $500, as compared to…

415 Connell Avenue

Contractor E. S. Newton, who purchased this lot in 1910, undoubtedly constructed this fashionable bungalow. With its low-pitched hipped roof and wide, sheltering eaves, the one-story residence was designed to convey a sense of comfort and security.…

425 Connell Avenue

Insurance agent George F. Gould and his wife, Susie, purchased this lot from the South Missoula Land Company in 1913. The deed stipulated that a dwelling worth at least $3,000 be constructed on the premises within fifteen years. The Goulds, however,…

439 Connell Avenue

Low-pitched gables, large sheltering eaves with decorative braces, and an inviting front porch supported by “battered” piers mark this circa 1916 residence as a Craftsman style home. Irene Risley, married to railroad supply salesman Dalton Risley, is…

315 Daly Avenue

The Craftsman style created such local fervor that in 1911 the Missoulian Publishing Company hosted a local contest offering a Craftsman bungalow style home as the grand prize. That home stands today just outside the University Area district. By the…

340 Daly Avenue

Levi and Jennie Withee built this charming Craftsman style home circa 1920. Withee was a longtime railroad man who began work as a “shotgun” messenger for the Montana division of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1894. Promotion to express agent…

408 Keith Avenue

The 400 block of Keith boasts four Tudor Revival style homes, a testament to European influence on American architecture in the 1920s and early 1930s. Thousands of American soldiers served in Europe during World War I, and many veterans returned home…

335 McLeod Avenue

Battered by drought and agricultural depression, Montana lost population in the 1920s. Even Missoula, which had a relatively stable economy, ended the decade 2,250 people shy of where it started. One bright economic light locally was the university,…

434 McLeod Avenue

Missoula businessman A. B. Hammond platted this southern portion of the historic district in 1899. McLeod Street bears the name of Hammond’s business partner, C. H. McLeod. It was not until the university blossomed in the early twentieth century that…

521 University Avenue

Deed records show that the Northern Pacific Railroad sold this property to the South Missoula Land Company in 1889. Company shareholder A. B. Hammond subsequently platted the Hammond Addition. Buyers of his lots signed an agreement promising to build…

Lynn and Daisy Ambrose Residence

Wide overhanging eaves and decorative braces mark the Craftsman style’s influence on this cross-gable home. The low-pitched roofline is intended to project an aura of comfort and security. Built circa 1904, the residence is an early adaptation of the…

Beacom Residence

Bay windows and a two-story front porch dress up this home’s basic “four-square” pattern. Stately American Four-Squares—marked by their pyramidal roofs, overhanging eaves, and cubical shapes—were extremely popular with middle-class suburbanites in…

H. O. Bell House

Harry and Grace Bell commissioned the Spokane firm of Rigg and Vantyne to design this elegant two-story home. A textbook example of a high-style Craftsman residence, its design features a cross-gable roof, exposed rafter tails, decorative braces,…

Berne House

Longtime Missoula resident John C. Berne and his wife Agnes moved into this Queen Anne style home around 1912. The Bernes moved here from Billings where John was a brick manufacturer. John continued manufacturing bricks once in this city and made…

Charles C. Brothers Residence

Two wings at right angles with a two-story section at the juncture form a very unusual floor plan in this unique eclectic residence, built circa 1927 for Charles and Ida Brothers. Inspired by the Prairie style, characteristic architectural elements…

Church of the Holy Spirit

Bishop Daniel Tuttle conducted Missoula’s first protestant service in 1870. The bishop noted in his journal that in the rough-and-tumble community, formerly called Hellgate, both the devil and the Holy Spirit were at work. When Reverend George…

302 South Sixth Street East

White Sulphur Springs businessman Harvey Spencer bought this newly constructed Queen Anne “Free Classic” style boardinghouse in 1902. The cross-gable roof and side bay window represent the Queen Anne form, while the pedimented porch entry and eave…

Dildine House

Architect A. J. Gibson—best known locally for his work on the Missoula Courthouse—designed this fashionable residence at the height of Queen Anne style. Built on two lots sometime before 1902, its defining features include an irregular roofline,…

Greenhood Residence

Changing architectural tastes are central to the story of this elegant home, built for Henry and Leah Greenhood. A successful liquor wholesaler and real estate developer, Henry was one of Missoula’s early Jewish residents, arriving here by 1904. He…

Hardenburgh Residence

Floyd and Kathleen Hardenburgh hired prominent Missoula architect H. E. Kirkemo to design this two-story residence in 1935. Best known for his commercial buildings, Kirkemo also created plans for many University District homes. For the Hardenburgh…

Charles E. Johnson Residence

Twenty-year-old Charles E. Johnson came to Missoula with the Northern Pacific as a dining car employee. He worked his way up to conductor, and after a seven-year career, changed professions. Putting his love of horses to use, he opened a livery…

John J. Lucy Home

The Tudor style as it evolved from medieval England to twentieth-century America is well expressed in this charming one-story home. Hollow tile faced with smooth brick, gables with decorative brackets, and a gabled and round arched doorway are…

Olive McLeod House

Olive McLeod, granddaughter of Missoula Mercantile founder Charles H. McLeod and Clara Beckwith, fell in love with this 1940 Neocolonial style home. Nine years later, she purchased the house from Luther Powell for whom it was built. A high-spirited…

Parsons House

Christopher P. Higgins, a Missoula founder, bought 160 acres in 1887 in this area now known as the Montana Addition. He died in 1889 before the southside building boom, but in his will Higgins directed his heirs to complete unfinished housing…

John E. Patterson Home

Frank Lloyd Wright developed the Prairie style because he believed that “Democracy needed something basically better than the box.” One of few homegrown architectural styles, its horizontal emphasis is the Prairie style hallmark. Attorney John E.…

Frank A. Roberts Home

The Craftsman style evolved as the architectural expression of simplicity and domestic harmony, merging nature with the built environment. Its popularity in the early 1900s eased the transition from Victorian fussiness to the modern era. This…

Roxy Theater

Neighboring business owners welcomed the Roxy Theater by purchasing more than a page of newspaper advertisements recognizing “the latest addition to Missoula’s South Side Business District!” Missoula suffered less than most Montana communities during…

Swift Building

Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad administrators envisioned a bustling warehouse district paralleling its spur line along South Fourth St. East. That district never materialized, but by 1912, the warehouse stood here, kitty-corner to the…

John R. Toole House (Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority House)

Full-length Doric columns make a bold architectural statement, drawing the eye to this imposing neoclassical style home. Butte architect J. F. Everett drew upon the style popularized following the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. The 1902…

525 Keith Avenue

The architectural character of this home, built in 1922, reflects the eclectic Craftsman style popular during the 1920s. The one-and-one-half-story cottage features a shallow, front-gable roof with wide eaves and exposed rafter ends. Horizontal beams…