aka Electric Light Building and Electric Building
North Park at Sixth 1890-1974
to 1890, the Electric Building (later called the Electric Block)
had coal-fired steam dynamos in the basement that generated
much of Helena's electricity until 1898, when hydroelectric
power from the first Canyon Ferry Dam came online. The building
also housed businesses, offices and apartments. In 1891, the
Montana Senate met there.
The disused 120-foot
tall stone and brick chimney was removed in 1905, accompanied by extensive renovations. In 1910, an
additional story was added, along with more renovations, including the installation of an automatic elevator, the first of its kind in Helena. In 1911, the Helena YWCA was first
organized in one room of the Electric Block.
Helena Baby Boomers
may recall having their photos taken at the Swenson-James Studio.
Electric Block, May 1937
OF TED KIRKMEYER, COURTESY OF TOM
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW
of the Electric Block
in the Electric Block, 1970s
OF ROBIN EVANS
OF ROBIN EVANS
of the Electric Block, 1974
7, 1974 the City Commission awarded a contract for demolition
of the Electric
Block and the Electric Block annex to the Norman Rogers Mining
Co. of Helena for $57,800. Rogers was the low bidder.
a parking garage was built on the site. Contractors ran into
problems while setting footings for the garage, encountering
stubborn sub-basements and mining tunnels.
BY KENNON BAIRD