Welcome to "Helena As She Was"
Your Award-winning Helena, Montana
Helena-related images and other material via this free educational
Street, August 1954
COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD
going online in 2006, this site has welcomed more than
112 individual contibutors of Helena-related
images, ephemera and recollections. Those good folks,
through their interest in history and willingness to
share, have made "Helena
As She Was" a valuable (and
fun) Montana history resource for students, researchers,
and those who just want to remember days gone by. The
associated Facebook group now has over 3,500 members.
and published by fourth-generation Helenan Kennon Baird,
this site is commercial-free and free to access.
There's a short biography of your host at the bottom
of this page.
2012, this site was awarded both the Lewis &
Clark County Heritage Tourism Council Historic
Preservation Award and the Montana Preservation
Alliance Director's Choice Technology Award for
Outstanding Online Resource.
ON IMAGES TO VIEW AWARD CERTIFICATES
behalf of everyone who has contibuted material
to this site, I extend heartfelt thanks to the
Lewis & Clark County Heritage and Tourism
Council, and to the Montana
Preservation Alliance for recognizing our
Working together, we have created a valuable and
fun history resource that has been accessed by
thousands of people around the world!
keep up the good work!
Love to all,
easy to share your Helena-related material via this
site! Scroll down this page past "Recent Additions"
and the Contributors Roster for more information...
As She Was" on Facebook
THE FACEBOOK LOGO AND BECOME A FAN OF THIS SITE!
DISCUSS HELENA HISTORY, RECEIVE NOTIFICATION OF SITE UPDATES,
AND ENJOY SURPRISE EXTRAS LIKE THE HELENA HISTORY PHOTO
QUIZ. NOW OVER 3,500 MEMBERS!
Urban Renewal Exhibit
On Display Through 2013
Lewis & Clark County History Center,
101 N. Last Chance Gulch
CLICK ON IMAGE TO OPEN EXHIBIT MAP (PDF FILE)
Lewis & Clark County Historical Society has mounted
a new exhibit on the history of Helenas still-controversial
1970s Model City program. Called REMEMBERING URBAN
RENEWAL, the exhibit includes input from those
who ran the program, as well as images and physical
artifacts from the grand Victorian and Edwardian buildings
that fell to the federal wrecking ball. The destruction
of the beloved Marlow Theatre is spotlighted.
hours are noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays;
volunteers are being sought and to staff it additional
hours, including evenings. Call 406-447-8357 or email
PAttardo (at) co.lewis-clark.mt.us to volunteer.
good folks have all shared their Helena photographs, ephemeria
and memories via this site.
Knapp & Buck
LOCATIONS IN HELENA, 1941 TO 1963. PHOTOS COURTESY OF
206 WEST LAWRENCE SINCE 1915
Brewing Co. UPDATE
FEW NEW IMAGES, UPGRADED OLDER IMAGES, AND ADDED HISTORY
DOWN THE LINKED PAGE FOR FOUR CIRCA 1937 PHOTOGRAPHS OF
THE CIVIC CENTER (THEN THE ALGERIA SHRINE TEMPLE) UNDERGOING
POST-EARTHQUAKE REPAIRS. COURTESY OF THE HELENA CIVIC
CENTER, VIA KERRY BROWN
HELENA'S OLDEST BAR, THE CENTRAL WAS DEMOLISHED BY THE
URBAN RENEWAL PROGRAM IN 1971. INCLUDED ARE PHOTOS OF
THE DEMOLTION, TAKEN BY JAN BROWN AND PRESENTED HERE COURTESY
OF RICHARD ALBERTS
Pacific (Union) Depot
DOWN THE LINKED PAGE FOR RECENT PHOTOS OF THE 1901 SETH
THOMAS CLOCK MECHANISM IN THE DEPOT TOWER, COURTESY OF
Helena Bridge 1904-1951
BY THE CAUSEWAY IN 1944
The Sad Story of Miss Helen Grohbrugge
J. C. Penney Store
OPENED IN HELENA IN 1929 AT 304-306 NORTH MAIN. IT WAS
THERE UNTIL 1961. BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS OF THE OLD STORE FROM
THE J. C. PENNEY ARCHIVES, DEGOLYER LIBRARY, SOUTHERN
AVIATOR MARONEY WAS THE FIRST LICENSED PILOT IN MONTANA.
THE CENTERPIECE OF THIS FEATURE ARE 13 NEVER-BEFORE-PUBLISHED
1910 PHOTOGRAPHS OF TERAH AND HIS FIRST HOMEMADE AEROPLANE,
TAKEN IN GREAT FALLS BY HELENA BUSINESSMAN RAYMOND C.
GRANT, AND PRESENTED HERE COURTESY OF HIS GRANDDAUGHTER,
WENDI KOTTAS PETERSON
DOWN THE LINKED PAGE TO PLAY DOZENS OF KBLL 1240 RADIO
JINGLES AND ADS FROM THE LATE 1960s AND EARLY 1970s. THESE
RARE MP3 FILES ARE FROM THE COLLECTION OF VETERAN HELENA
BROADCASTER AND HISTORIAN / PRESERVATIONIST WALLY PEEL.
DOWN THE LINKED PAGE TO LEARN WHY THREE BIG WINDOWS WERE
ADDED TO THE EAST TOWER AFTER THE 1935 EARTHQUAKES. ENJOY
RARE VIEWS INSIDE THE TOWER, COURTESY OF SEAN LOGAN
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE TELEPHONE IN HELENA. THIS FEATURE
IS A WORK IN PROGRESS
The Flood of
INTENSE JULY CLOUDBURST OVERWHELMED HELENA'S RUDIMENTARY
DRAINAGE SYSTEM. MANY STORES AND RESIDENCES FLOODED. PHOTOS
COURTESY OF THE JEZICK COLLECTION
ARE NUMEROUS PHOTOS OF THIS MUCH-MISSED TOURIST ATTRACTION
AND GRAND EXAMPLE OF AMERICAN FOLK ART. INCLUDED ARE RARE
PHOTOS OF JOHN QUIGLEY, JR.'S FIRST ENTERPRISE, 'LOST
CABIN RANCH' NEAR AVON, AND PHOTOS OF THE FRONTIER TOWN
BACK-BAR DIORAMA. HUGE THANKS TO KITTY ANN QUIGLEY TAALER
FOR LOANING THE MATERIAL!
Henry Harrison UPDATE
ARE SEVERAL VINTAGE PHOTOS OF THE FORT, FROM CA1917 TO
THE EARLY 1950S, COURTESY OF JOHN JOHNSON
Les Jorud - Jorud Photo Shop
H. JORUD (1899-1977) WAS HELENA'S MOST WELL-KNOWN AND
PROLIFIC PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE 20TH CENTURY
ARE TWO LARGE 1904 PHOTOS OF THIS LONG-GONE AMUSEMENT
PARK, NOW THE SITE OF THE GREEN MEADOW COUNTRY CLUB
AND HULDA MILLER GREW AWARD-WINNING PRODUCE ON THE BANKS
OF TEN MILE CREEK
Drug Co. UPDATE
ARE CIRCA 1911 IMAGES OF THE PARCHEN DRUG CO. BUILDING
AT MAIN AND BROADWAY, ALONG WITH A PORTRAIT OF PIONEER
DRUGGIST HENRY M. PARCHEN
Retz Funeral Home
OPP & CONRAD. LOCATED AT 315 E. SIXTH SINCE 1926
Curtin Co. UPDATE
ADDED ARE CIRCA 1911 INTERIOR PHOTOS OF THE HUGE GRAND
STREET DEPARTMENT STORE, WHICH LATER HOUSED GRAND STREET
FURNITURE AND FRIEL'S CHINA & GIFTS. BUILDING DEMOLISHED
BY URBAN RENEWAL IN THE 1970S.
THE FAIRGROUNDS FEATURE HAS BEEN EXPANDED, WITH NEW GRAPHICS
AND AN EMPHASIS ON THE HISTORIC 1870 RACETRACK
NEW-TO-THE-SITE PHOTOS OF THE EAST SIDE HOLIDAY MOTEL
AND JORGENSON'S HOLIDAY INN RESTAURANT
R. C. Wallace
PIONEER HELENA MERCHANT
NBC - Helena
SHORT VIDEO FEATURE ABOUT THIS WEBSITE, PRODUCED BY
Pioneer Cabin UPDATE
BIG NEW-TO-THE-SITE PHOTOS OF THE OLDEST BUILDING IN
Sixth and Main
TO THE FEATURE ARE FOUR MARVELOUS 1907 & 1908 JULY
4 PARADE PHOTOS, COURTESY OF THE JEZICK FAMILY AND SEAN
LOGAN. ALSO, READ THE STORY OF THE 1969 CHRISTMAS TREE
Oro Fino Terrace UPDATE
OF RHONDA WILSON, PHOTOS OF THE AFTERMATH OF THE 1985
FIRE THAT DESTROYED THE BEAUTIFUL RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURE
1950-1970S BY HOWARD GREER. LOCALLY-MARKETED POTATO CHIPS
AND NOODLES WERE ALSO MADE THERE. THE BUILDINGS STILL
STAND ON NORTH JACKSON
513 North Main - Dawn Hotel
BY FIRE IN 1983, THIS 1890 BUILDING SAW NUMEROUS OWNERS
AND TENANTS OVER THE YEARS. PHOTOS AND NEWSPAPER ARTICLES
COURTESY OF CALVIN SCHNECKLOTH
EARLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN HELENA BUSINESSMAN. PHOTOS COURTESY
OF TOM MULVANEY AND WENDI KOTTAS PETERSON; INTERESTING
RESEARCH FROM ELLEN BAUMLER AND PATTY DEAN. THANKS, FOLKS!
View of Downtown, circa 1911
WEST FROM THE GRANDON HOTEL. SCANS OF THREE NEGATIVES,
COURTESY OF WENDI KOTTAS PETERSON, WITH PANORAMA PHOTO-STITCHING
BY SEAN LOGAN
St. Joseph's Orphans
PHOTOS, PLUS A LINK TO A FASCINATING FACEBOOK COMMUNITY
OF CUBAN REFUGEE AND OTHER CHILDREN WHO LIVED AT THE ORPHANAGE
The Marlow Theatre UPDATE
ADDED ARE 1958 PHOTOS OF AN AUDIENCE IN THE MARLOW AUDITORIUM.
THE EVENT WAS A SHOWING OF THE FILM 'BOMBER B-52', WITH
A SPECIAL LIVE ADDED ATTRACTION - A CIVIL AIR PATROL CHOIR
FROM KALISPELL. PLEASE SCROLL DOWN THE LINKED PAGE
Park Avenue Apartments
AS UPSCALE APARTMENTS IN 1923-24. STILL STANDING AT
440 NORTH PARK
Old City Hall
CENTER OF ACTIVITY ON SOUTH MAIN FROM 1885 TO 1935.
IMAGES AND HISTORY CONTIBUTED BY HFD ASST. CHIEF SEAN
COURTESY OF TOM MULVANEY AND THE TED KIRKMEYER COLLECTION,
WE PRESENT SEVERAL LOVELY IMAGES OF THIS DOWNTOWN ART
DECO CINEMA, ALONG WITH AN EXPANDED HISTORY OF THE BUILDING
-- WHICH STILL STANDS AT 335 NORTH LAST CHANCE GULCH
HELENA'S SHOWPLACE, THE BELOVED 1918 THEATRE WAS DEMOLISHED
DURING HELENA'S 1970s 'URBAN RENEWAL' PROGRAM
UNCHANGED SINCE THE 1930S, THE PARROT STILL "TALKS
FOR ITSELF" ON LAST CHANCE GULCH
Old Brewery Theatre
NOTED SUMMER STOCK THEATRE ONCE HOUSED IN THE OLD CAPITAL
BREWERY BUILDING ON WEST MAIN. DESTROYED BY 'URBAN RENEWAL'
IN THE 1970S
Lewis & Clark County
THE HOME OF THE TERRITORIAL AND STATE FAIRS. THE HISTORIC
RACETRACK DATES FROM 1870
OF POPULAR CHINESE FARE, INCLUDING THOSE MEMORABLE
1890/91 View of Chinatown
and the Old West Side
COURTESY OF SEAN LOGAN. THE ANNOTATIONS SHOWING LANDMARKS
ARE DERIVED FROM VARIOUS SOURCES. CLICK
HERE TO VIEW/DOWNLOAD A NON-ANNOTATED VERSION
Tribute to Broadcaster Al Johnson
VERSATILE ARTIST AND TRUE GENTLEMAN, AL JOHNSON WAS THE
PREEMINENT VOICE OF HELENA RADIO FOR NEARLY HALF A CENTURY.
SCROLL DOWN THE LINKED PAGE FOR A TRIBUTE TO AL, INCLUDING
RARE PHOTOS AND AUDIO. Special
thanks to Walli Johnson and Wally Peel
Fire Tower - "Guardian of the Gulch"
SYMBOL HAS A COLORFUL HISTORY
Old Montana" - Play it in mp3!
IN 1931 BY HELENA SISTERS GENEE AND MIMI MILLIGAN,
"DEAR OLD MONTANA" WAS DEDICATED TO THE
ASSEMBLY. THE SHEET MUSIC PICTURED WAS INSCRIBED BY THE
SISTERS TO "DADDY" REEVES, AN EARLY HELENA MUSIC
AND IMPRESARIO. SCROLL DOWN THE LINKED PAGE TO READ ABOUT
MR. REEVES, THE MILLIGAN SISTERS, AND TO PLAY THE SONG
Williams Street Bridge
LOVELY IRON PONY-TRUSS BRIDGE WEST OF HELENA
WAS REMOVED IN THE SUMMER OF 2009. SCROLL
DOWN THE LINKED PAGE FOR SIX 2004 VIEWS OF THE BRIDGE,
COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. ALSO, HISTORIAN
JON AXLINE'S EXCELLENT 2005 HISTORIC AMERICAN ENGINEERING
RECORD PAPER ABOUT THE BRIDGE AND ITS ENVIRONS
THE WILLIAMS STREET BRIDGE IN ART -- A STRIKING
PASTEL PAINTING OF THE ROMANTIC BRIDGE BY NOTED HELENA
Rooms ~ Helena's Last Bordello
PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE INTERIOR, AND CLOTHES WORN BY THE GIRLS
to Historic Helena Fire Dept. Photos
SEAN LOGAN OF THE HELENA FIRE DEPARTMENT IS POSTING
TO A FACEBOOK GROUP A BEAUTIFUL SELECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS,
INTERVIEWS AND OTHER MATERIAL FROM THE HFD ARCHIVES.
MUST-SEE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN HELENA'S HISTORY.
MANY THANKS TO CAPT. LOGAN AND THE HFD FOR SHARING THEIR
- City of Gold" VIDEO DOWNLOAD
promotional film produced in 1973 by the Helena Chamber
HELENA'S HISTORY, RECREATONAL ACTIVITIES AND COMMERCE
ARE HIGHLIGHTED THROUGH THE CHARACTER OF BOB STANLEY,
ONE OF THE 'FOUR GEORGIANS' WHO DISCOVERED GOLD IN LAST
CHANCE GULCH IN 1864. STANLEY SUDDENLY FINDS HIMSELF
IN HELENA IN 1973, AND IS BOTH BEDEVILED AND AMUSED
BY MODERN LIFE
VIDEO COURTESY OF KITTY ANN QUIGLEY TAALER.
Open with realPlayer.
Helena TV RECOMMENDED LINK
HELENA BROADCASTER WALLY PEEL HAS PUT TOGETHER AN EXCELLENT
HISTORY OF EARLY-DAY HELENA TELEVISION FOR THE KTVH WEBSITE
here to visit!
WALLY SAYS IT'S STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS, SO CHECK BACK
Oct. 10 2006 Helena Independent
Record story about this website
enjoy "Helena As She Was", these are the people to
Your Photos & Recollections
ST. LOOKING SOUTH, ABOUT 1913
COURTESY OF WES & CAROL SYNNESS
You Have Images of Helena to Share,
Me Via E-mail !
Please try to include the word "HELENA"
in the subject line of your first email, so it won't
be mistaken for spam and accidentally deleted.
images are scanned and e-mailed to me by contributors.
Contributors will occasionally mail CDs with photos
on them. When those methods aren't practical, the
actual photos or other materials are sent to me via
U. S. Mail. I scan the material and return it, paying
for insured postage both ways. I can scan photographs,
slides and negatives.
will credit your contributions (if you so desire),
and will also add your personal recollections to the
material you send. I can't offer monetary compensation
for images sent in, but website and/or email links
may be added to your contributions and to your name
on the home page Roster.
The emphasis is on old photographs and other images
of businesses, schools, churches, neighborhoods, streets,
events and other subjects of GENERAL INTEREST.
I'm also interested in old Helena advertising and
Library, Not an Archive
is a living library, not an archive, so please be advised
that your images will be in the PUBLIC DOMAIN
when they're published here, which means they'll be
up for grabs by anyone who wants to use them. My outlook
is that it's better for people to see, use and learn
from such pictures than it is to let them languish in
drawers or old albums. In that spirit, I've included
many of my own photographs in the site, along with numerous
postcards, etc., from my collection. I acquire Helena-related
images and ephemera for my own collection as my budget
website is a ONE-MAN OPERATION, but I endeavor
to add all material sent to me in a timely manner. Occasionally,
I will hold material until I can expand the story using
online newspaper archives and other resources. I stay
in contact with contributors.
PHOTOGRAPHS OF PEOPLE
Great Grandmother Viola was no doubt a beautiful person,
but please limit submissions of photos featuring people
to those which show them in a broader
No studio portraits.
Please avoid snapshots of people which show little or
nothing of the city.
is what to keep in mind when selecting your submissions.
Site is Hosted by an Actual Helena Native!
Baird Editor and Publisher
Baird's pioneer Great Grandfather, Wallace Millegan,
began ranching in the Helena Valley in 1865, coming
by way of Bannack and Blackfoot City. The Millegan homestead
was the first in the Helena Valley, and 13th in the
Territory of Montana.
was born in 1950, at the old St. Peter's Hospital on
Logan Street. He lived in Helena until 1972, attending
Kessler School, C. R. Anderson School, Helena Junior
High, and Helena High School. Ken spent many years working
in Houston, Texas, where he also studied design at the
University of Houston. In 1998, Ken moved to the San
Francisco Bay Area with wife Kathleen, who is a business
systems analyst for a biotech company.
enjoys art, history, writing, music and gardening. He's
a member of the Sons
and Daughters of Montana Pioneers and the Montana
Historical Society. Ken's home website is Lifelike
my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again."
- Alfred Edward Housman, A Shropshire Lad
YOU FIND AN INACCURACY?
If you spot an inaccuracy or wish to add information,
please don't hesitate to contact
me. I want this site to be as accurate as possible.
If you have questions or comments about the structure
of the site in general, please write.
enjoy your visit to Helena, the Queen City of the Rockies...as
site is educational and non-commercial in nature. To
the best of my knowledge, the images presented on these
pages are either in the public domain or are used in
accordance with Fair Use practices. If you have concerns
about this, contact