Montana - Kalispell


Looking north from US Route 2 along Meridian Rd. (Highway 424) affords a glimpse of Big Mountain, home of the Whitefish Mountain ski area.

The 1895 Charles E. Conrad mansion is along Woodland Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets. You can't miss it, as it takes up the entire block and there's nothing on the east side. Mr. Conrad was one of the founders of Kalispell and a wealthy enough businessman to afford a house with 4 chimneys and 8 fireplaces.

The 1894 Central School, now a museum, is due west of the mansion along 2nd Avenue.

A trip down the west side of Main Street (US Route 93) from 1st Street to 4th Street.

The buildings on the east side of Main Street have more visible names and even dates. Kalispell was founded in 1891 and grew steadily for at least 20 years, so it's no surprise to see "1904" on two consecutive buildings. The "HG" or "GH" monogram in the last photo likely refers to the building's first owner.

Saving the most notable for last, the 1905 county courthouse sits in the middle of Main Street because the county bought the land after Main Street was platted but before it was built. It was designed with a clock tower, but no clock was ever installed, leading to the unusual round windows in the tower that were more recently installed. (I read that there were just open holes in the tower at first.) The rear building, newer but built in a matching style, houses additional court functions that outgrew the original building. Fun fact: Flathead County was created out of Missoula County two years after this city due to the interalpine population boom.

Architectural details. Why is there a spire on the back of the roof? Spires are for towers.

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