Welcome to "Helena As She Was"
Your Award-winning Helena, Montana
Helena-related images and other material via this free educational
Chance Gulch, 1957
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 5,000 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,
History Research Tools I Use
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.
easy to share your Helena-related material via this
site! Scroll down this page past "Recent Additions"
and the Contributors Roster for more information...
"Helena As She Was" on Facebook!
Now Over 5,000 Members!
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
good folks have all shared their Helena photographs, ephemeria
and memories via this site.
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.
SCENIC ROAD ALONG MOUNT HELENA'S NORTH FLANK WAS CONSTRUCTED
IN 1907-08, ATOP THE ADANDONED RIGHT-OF-WAY OF THE "YAW
YAW DITCH" THAT ONCE BROUGHT MUCH-NEEDED WATER FROM
TEN MILE CREEK TO THE PLACER DIGGINGS IN HELENA
& TV UPDATE
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
FIRST CEMETERY WAS LOCATED DOWNTOWN
THE SO-CALLED 'HANGING TREE'
LOCATED IN CLANCY, MONTANA
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
Helena High School UPDATE
ARE SEVERAL NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS, INCLUDING A DETAILED
DESCRIPTION OF THE INTERIOR OF THE BUILDING, AND HOW CONSTRUCTION
WORKERS MADE A GRIM DISCOVERY
Henry Harrison UPDATE
ARE SEVERAL NEWPAPER CLIPPINGS, PHOTOS AND INFORMATIVE
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
Bridge Washout at Broadwater, 1908
FLOOD TEMPORARILY HALTED STREETCAR SERVICE TO FORT HARRISON
Skating Rink at Broadwater
1900s ATTRACTION BUILT BY THE LOCAL STREETCAR COMPANY
Jacoby's Store for
FAMILY-OWNED CLOTHING STORE ON LAST CHANCE GULCH, 1940
TO THE 1980S
DeWalt Studio and
PHOTOGRAPHER CLARENCE DEWALT WAS THE CITY'S FOREMOST PORTRAIT
PHOTOGRAPHER. HIS QUIRKY RADIO ADS ARE STILL REMEMBERED
SMALL 1880s HOTEL ON RAILROAD AVENUE, DEMOLISHED BY THE
View of the City
LARGE, DETAILED VIEW OF THE BRIDGE (STATE) STREET NEIGHBORHOOD,
'CATHOLIC HILL' AND BEYOND. PHOTO BY F. JAY HAYNES, COURTESY
OF THE SEAN LOGAN COLLECTION
Henry Harrison UPDATE
ARE NUMEROUS PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE FACILITY AND THE TROOPS.
SPECIAL THANKS TO DAVID POOR FOR SHARING IMAGES FROM HIS
The Corner Bar
FAMILIAR SIGHT AT THE CORNER OF HIGHWAY 12 AND WILLIAMS
ST., THIS ESTABLISHMENT, UNDER
VARIOUS NAMES, HAS
BEEN SERVING THE DRINKING PUBLIC SINCE ABOUT 1934
VIEWS OF THE GARDENS AT THE JUNCTION OF GRIZZLY AND ORO
FINO GULCHES, ONE OF SEVERAL 'CHINESE GARDENS' THAT HELPED
SUPPLY PRODUCE TO EARLY-DAY HELENA. PHOTOS COURTESY OF
THE JEZICK COLLECTION AND THE DAVID POOR COLLECTION
AT NORTH MONTANA AVE. AND ELM ST., CAPITAL LANES WAS
IN OPERATION FROM 1949 TO 1957, WHEN IT WAS GUTTED BY
ARE A 1953 PHOTO OF THE ORIGINAL STATION ON JEROME PLACE,
AND SEVERAL NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS ABOUT THE EARLY DAYS OF
GENERATIONS WORKED THE LAND, BEGINNING IN 1865
OPERATION FOR ONLY A COUPLE OF YEARS IN THE EARLY 1950s.
THE BUILDING STILL STANDS ON NINTH AVENUE
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
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
Old City Hall
CENTER OF ACTIVITY ON SOUTH MAIN FROM 1885 TO 1935.
IMAGES AND HISTORY CONTIBUTED BY HELENA FIRE 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
NBC - Helena
SHORT VIDEO FEATURE ABOUT THIS WEBSITE, PRODUCED BY
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
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