Welcome to "Helena As She Was"
Your Award-winning Helena, Montana History Wiki!

Share your Helena-related images and other material via this free educational resource!

Last Chance Gulch, 1957


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD


Since 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 5,000 members.

Edited 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.

Awards

In 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.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO VIEW AWARD CERTIFICATES

On 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 efforts.

Working together, we have created a valuable and fun history resource that has been accessed by thousands of people around the world!

Let's keep up the good work!

Love to all,
Kennon Baird
Editor/Publisher


Online History Research Tools I Use

Please click on the pick and shovel to open a new window listing the various online resources I use in compiling the brief histories found on this website.

 

It's easy to share your Helena-related material via this site! Scroll down this page past "Recent Additions" and the Contributors Roster for more information...




Enjoy "Helena As She Was" on Facebook!
Now Over 5,000 Members!

CLICK 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.

 

7/29/2015 - 101-103 Jackson St. at Breckenridge
OFFICES AND ROOMS ON THE CORNER, TWO VIEWS FROM CIRCA 1895
7/15/2015 - Family Theatre UPDATE
ADDED IS A RARE FOUR-PAGE VAUDEVILLE PROGRAM FROM 1909
7/15/2015 - Henry Maxwell - 108 E. Cutler St.
A MODEST AFRICAN AMERICAN BUSINESS ON HELENA'S OLD SOUTH SIDE, PHOTOGRAPHED IN THE MID 1890s. SOME FAMILY HISTORY ALSO INCLUDED
7/9/2015 - The Confederate Memorial Fountain UPDATE
ADDED ARE PHOTOS FROM 1946, 1956 AND 2012, ALONG WITH THE 1916 HELENA INDEPENDENT STORY ABOUT THE FOUNTAIN'S DEDICATION, AND OTHER MORE RECENT CLIPPINGS. THE ONGOING 2015 RENAMING / REDEDICATION CONTROVERSY IS ALSO MENTIONED
4/5/2015 - F. W. Woolworth Co.
ON MAIN STREET 1915 TO 1981
3/31/2015 - The Hanging Tree UPDATE
ADDED ARE PHOTOGRAPHS OF TWO ACTUAL PIECES OF THE HANGING TREE, FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE MONTANA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
3/28/2015 - Weiss Cafe
AT 20 NORTH MAIN ST. 1907-1957
KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE NORTHWEST
3/17/2015 - Columbia Paint Co.
HOUSED IN THE FORMER HOME OF THE MONTANA PACKING & PROVISION CO. ON DODGE AVENUE, COLUMBIA PAINT CO. MADE HIGH-QUALITY FINISHES IN HELENA FROM 1947 TO 2008. THE COMPLEX IS CURRENTLY THE HOME OF THE LEWIS & CLARK BREWING CO.
3/11/2015 - LeGrande Cannon Boulevard
THE SCENIC ROAD ALONG MOUNT HELENA'S NORTH FLANK WAS CONSTRUCTED IN 1907-08, ATOP THE ADANDONED RIGHT-OF-WAY OF THE "BIG HELENA DITCH" THAT ONCE BROUGHT MUCH-NEEDED WATER FROM TEN MILE CREEK TO THE PLACER DIGGINGS IN HELENA
1/29/2015 - KPFA/KXLJ Radio & TV UPDATE
ADDED IS A 1936 PHOTO SHOWING CONSTRUCTION OF THE KPFA/KXLJ LOG CABIN STUDIO ON ELEVENTH AVENUE. ALSO SEVERAL NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS AND AN IMPROVED LOCATION MAP
11/30/2015 - City Cemetery
HELENA'S FIRST CEMETERY WAS LOCATED DOWNTOWN
1/29/2015 - The Hanging Tree UPDATE
DEBUNKING THE SO-CALLED 'HANGING TREE'
LOCATED IN CLANCY, MONTANA
1/25/2015 - Montana Historical Society UPDATE
ADDED IS A NEW FEATURE ABOUT THE 'MERCI TRAIN' BOXCAR GIVEN TO MONTANA BY THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT IN 1949. ALSO, MORE ABOUT THE KEELBOAT MANDAN, WHICH WAS ONCE DISPLAYED AT THE MUSEUM
1/19/2015 - 1893 Helena High School UPDATE
ADDED ARE SEVERAL NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS, INCLUDING A DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INTERIOR OF THE BUILDING, AND HOW CONSTRUCTION WORKERS MADE A GRIM DISCOVERY
1/19/2015 - Fort William Henry Harrison UPDATE
ADDED ARE SEVERAL NEWPAPER CLIPPINGS, PHOTOS AND INFORMATIVE LINKS
11/22/2014 - 1904 Federal Building UPDATE
ADDED ARE LATE-1970S VIEWS OF THE POST OFFICE LOBBY, BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIEWS OF THE MAIL SORTING AREA, AND MORE. PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE CITY OF HELENA / LEWIS & CLARK COUNTY, VIA PAM ATTARDO
10/26/2014 - Streetcar Bridge Washout at Broadwater, 1908
HISTORIC FLOOD TEMPORARILY HALTED STREETCAR SERVICE TO FORT HARRISON
10/20/2014 - Ice Skating Rink at Broadwater
EARLY 1900s ATTRACTION BUILT BY THE LOCAL STREETCAR COMPANY
9/14/2014 - Jacoby's Store for Men
A FAMILY-OWNED CLOTHING STORE ON LAST CHANCE GULCH, 1940 TO THE 1980S
6/4/2014 - DeWalt Studio and Camera Shop
HELENA PHOTOGRAPHER CLARENCE DEWALT WAS THE CITY'S FOREMOST PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER. HIS QUIRKY RADIO ADS ARE STILL REMEMBERED TODAY
4/13/2014 - Capital Hotel
A SMALL 1880s HOTEL ON RAILROAD AVENUE, DEMOLISHED BY THE 1935 EARTHQUAKES
4/8/2014 - 1883 View of the City
A LARGE, DETAILED VIEW OF THE BRIDGE (STATE) STREET NEIGHBORHOOD, 'CATHOLIC HILL' AND BEYOND. PHOTO BY F. JAY HAYNES, COURTESY OF THE SEAN LOGAN COLLECTION
03/05/2014 - Fort William Henry Harrison UPDATE
ADDED ARE NUMEROUS PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE FACILITY AND THE TROOPS. SPECIAL THANKS TO DAVID POOR FOR SHARING IMAGES FROM HIS COLLECTION
11/23/2013 - The Millegan Ranch
THREE GENERATIONS WORKED THE LAND, BEGINNING IN 1865
Frontier Town
THIS FONDLY-REMEMBERED TOURIST ATTRACTION ATOP MACDONALD PASS WAS A GRAND EXAMPLE OF AMERICAN FOLK ART. IT WAS ESSENTIALLY HAND-BUILT BY ONE MAN, JOHN R. QUIGLEY, JR. HUGE THANKS TO KITTY ANN QUIGLEY TAALER FOR MAKING THIS FEATURE POSSIBLE.
Panoramic View of Downtown, circa 1911
LOOKING WEST FROM THE GRANDON HOTEL. SCANS OF THREE NEGATIVES, COURTESY OF WENDI KOTTAS PETERSON, WITH PANORAMA PHOTO-STITCHING BY SEAN LOGAN
Old City Hall
A CENTER OF ACTIVITY ON SOUTH MAIN FROM 1885 TO 1935.
IMAGES AND HISTORY CONTIBUTED BY HELENA FIRE CHIEF SEAN LOGAN

Rio/Vigilante Theatre
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

The Marlow Theatre
ONCE HELENA'S SHOWPLACE, THE BELOVED 1918 THEATRE WAS DEMOLISHED DURING HELENA'S 1970s 'URBAN RENEWAL' PROGRAM

The Parrot Confectionery
VIRTUALLY UNCHANGED SINCE THE 1930s, THE PARROT STILL "TALKS FOR ITSELF" ON LAST CHANCE GULCH

The Old Brewery Theatre
A 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 Fairgrounds
ONCE THE HOME OF THE TERRITORIAL AND STATE FAIRS. THE HISTORIC RACETRACK DATES FROM 1870
House of Wong
DECADES OF POPULAR CHINESE FARE, INCLUDING THOSE MEMORABLE
PORK NOODLES
Annotated 1890/91 View of Chinatown
and the Old West Side

PHOTO COURTESY OF SEAN LOGAN. THE ANNOTATIONS SHOWING LANDMARKS ARE DERIVED FROM VARIOUS SOURCES. CLICK HERE TO VIEW/DOWNLOAD A NON-ANNOTATED VERSION
A Tribute to Broadcaster Al Johnson
A 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
The Fire Tower - "Guardian of the Gulch"
HELENA'S SYMBOL HAS A COLORFUL HISTORY
"Dear Old Montana" - Play it in mp3!
WRITTEN IN 1931 BY HELENA SISTERS GENEE AND MIMI MILLIGAN,
"DEAR OLD MONTANA" WAS DEDICATED TO THE 22nd LEGISLATIVE
ASSEMBLY. THE SHEET MUSIC PICTURED WAS INSCRIBED BY THE
SISTERS TO "DADDY" REEVES, AN EARLY HELENA MUSIC EDUCATOR
AND IMPRESARIO. SCROLL DOWN THE LINKED PAGE TO READ ABOUT
MR. REEVES, THE MILLIGAN SISTERS, AND TO PLAY THE SONG


1894 Williams Street Bridge
THIS 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

PLUS: THE WILLIAMS STREET BRIDGE IN ART -- A STRIKING
PASTEL PAINTING OF THE ROMANTIC BRIDGE BY NOTED HELENA ARTIST
KATHRYN FEHLIG

Dorothy's Rooms ~ Helena's Last Bordello
RARE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE INTERIOR, AND CLOTHES WORN BY THE GIRLS

Link to Historic Helena Fire Dept. Photos
CAPTAIN 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. IT'S A
MUST-SEE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN HELENA'S HISTORY.


MANY THANKS TO CAPT. LOGAN AND THE HFD FOR SHARING THEIR OUTSTANDING ARCHIVE!

"Helena - City of Gold" VIDEO DOWNLOAD - 27:24
A promotional film produced in 1973 by the Helena Chamber of Commerce.

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.
Early Helena TV RECOMMENDED LINK
VETERAN HELENA BROADCASTER WALLY PEEL HAS PUT TOGETHER AN EXCELLENT HISTORY OF EARLY-DAY HELENA TELEVISION FOR THE KTVH WEBSITE
Click here to visit!
NOTE: WALLY SAYS IT'S STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS, SO CHECK BACK FOR MORE!
The Oct. 10 2006 Helena Independent Record story about this website
4/16/2012 - Beartooth NBC - Helena
A SHORT VIDEO FEATURE ABOUT THIS WEBSITE, PRODUCED BY
KRISTIN PRICE


These good folks have all shared their Helena photographs, ephemeria and memories via this site.

If you enjoy "Helena As She Was", these are the people to thank!

Tim Kuney Scott Nelson Ray Cumming Laura Blumenthal
Charleen Spalding Vic Reiman Bill Higgins Kitty A. Quigley Taaler
Don Hoffman Kathleen Ely Kirby Lambert Chuck Jezick
Joe Munzenrider Anonymous (3) Janet Stellmon Sidney Armstrong
Gerry Early Wes & Carol Synness Sister Dolores Brinkel Charlie Beaton
Nancy Goodspeed Darcy O'Dell Pamela Attardo Blake Gardiner
Jeff Sherlock Don Cornish David Hull Tom Kilmer
The Bisom Family Chris Warren Patrick Ryan Dennis Dickert
Cathee Crapo Inez Slayman Derek Evers Ralph Beer
Kathryn Fehlig Michael E. Holmes Ellen Baumler Kathleen Daniusis
Linda Beattie Anderson Wally Peel Dan Duke D. R. Stinson
Orchard Lakes School Lisa Kennedy
Carol & Charles Anderson
Jason Francis
Rowena Clarke Fulk Bob & Susie Lindeberg Tim Rusek Frank Cuta
Bob Guffey Roy E. Millegan, Sr. Virgie M. Baird Dave Thomas
Mike Millegan Judy Bakke Kerry Brown Patty Dean
Steve Andre David Marriot Keith Nay Tom Mulvaney
Jack Womack David Burton Marilyn Lamb Roberts Chief.Sean Logan
The Helena Fire Dept.
Intermountain
Childrens Home
Vivian Hayes The Ray & Phil Jezick
Collection
G. B. Carson
Patti Casey Scott Dave Dubé Danny Larson Jeff Wong
Susie Morrison Annah Smith Patricia Rogers Glisson J. M. Cooper
The George Huber
Collection
Walli Johnson Vince Moravek Aub Kirkland
Tana Dearborn Rhonda Wilson Jodie Miller Monty Cowles
Ray Lindsey Robin Evans
Diane
Macaraeg-Langenfus
The Joyce Oliva-Anderson Collection
Robert Noel Clarkson Wanda Power Daniel Sullivan Deb Winston Bushnell
Gail Hatch Kathleen Kinney Terese Penix Paul Daniels
Steve Moody Jean Allen Davis P. Christiaan Klieger The Family of
Gertrude Haight Miller
Roger Liedle Vicki Pawlitschek Janet Abrams Wendi Kottas Peterson
Jerry Hopkins John and Rosie Crocker Craig Kirwin Connie Ferriter
Al Ballard Jan Fusco Loretta Wallace Smith Phil Gunn
Trudy Erickson Helen Margaret Grant Collection of the late
Henry W. Jorgensen
Maxine Gilmour
Doug and Kathy Lindgren Calvin Schneckloth Clint Vincent Myrtle Prohaska
Richard Smith Rich Weddle Bill Clarkson Roberta Zieske
Colleen McCarthy Cathy Green E. O. Kindschy, Jr. Mike Hausler
Darrell Beckstrom Greg Logan June Virag
Diane Stavnes,
Helena Civic Center
Richard Alberts David Poor Stephen A. D. Hahn
Peggy Flynn April Coen Peter Brown
Montana SHPO
Chuck Siefert
Montana Memory Project Rita Cross Autumn Barnett Lorilei Cochran
Jerry Walker Terry Wareham Shannon
Matthies-Callahan
Annell Fillinger

The Earl Jacoby Family Marla Jacoby Jack Frost Montana Military Museum
Ron Haraseth Tom Stockdale Collection of
William Wallace Shropshire
Collection of
Lee Hoyt Larison
Betty Borsberry Foster
Patrick Foster
The Ann and John Fay
Collection
Kally Porrini Shawn Ratchford  



Sharing Your Photos & Recollections


MAIN ST. LOOKING SOUTH, ABOUT 1913 • COURTESY OF WES & CAROL SYNNESS

If You Have Images of Helena to Share,
Simply Contact 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.

Usually, 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.

I 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 promotional ephemera.

A Library, Not an Archive

This 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 allows.

This 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.



ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHS OF PEOPLE

Your 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 HELENA-RELATED CONTEXT. No studio portraits.

Please avoid snapshots of people which show little or nothing of the city.

"GENERAL INTEREST"
is what to keep in mind when selecting your submissions. THANKS!


This Site is Hosted by an Actual Helena Native!


Kennon Baird • Editor and Publisher

Kennon 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.

Ken 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.

Ken enjoys art, history, writing, music and gardening. He's a member of the Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers and the Montana Historical Society.


"Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That 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


DID 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.

Please enjoy your visit to Helena, the Queen City of the Rockies...as she was


DISCLAIMER ...This 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 me.