Main News & Confectionery
407 N. Main

Main News & Confectionery, 1980


Located in the 1890 five-storefront C. W. Cannon Building, 407 N. Main (Last Chance Gulch) has had numerous occupants over the decades, but was primarily home to newsagents and tobacconists from about 1895 to 1984.

Illinois native Ulysses Grant Shelton (1864-1948) operated at the address for a few years before moving his operation to 108 East Sixth Avenue. He was in business in Helena for about 30 years before moving to Spokane, Washington.

Other merchants associated with the address:

• Ulysses Grant Shelton
• Edward J. Clemo
• John A Simon
• Herman Binzel
• George L. Faltermeyer
• Lena H. Geier
• Harry I. Stone
• Cedric & Babe Schroeder
• Don McKeever
• Arlene & Jim Brunton

Proprietor Herman Binzel, July 1936


Helena native Herman Binzel (1886-1938) operated the Binzel Confectionary at 407 N. Main from 1934 until his untimely death from cardiovascular disease in 1938. Many thanks to Tyler Kimbrough for sharing this wonderful photo of his great-grandfather at work.

Proprietor Harry Irwin Stone

For many years, Main News was operated by Mr. Harry Stone (1893-1972). According to dates found in newspaper archives, Mr. Stone operated at 407 N. Main longer than any other tenant, from 1938 to 1963

He stocked a wide variety of magazines, newspapers, comic books, penny candy, pop, cigars, pipes, fishing reels, knives... You could also get your fishing and hunting licenses there. It was a wonderful place to go, a window to the outside world and to the world of fantasy.

My lasting memories of Main News include the smell of new comic books and magazines, the array of colorful penny candy in the deep oak showcase, and the taste of cream soda sipped through a paper straw. There were shelves of cigars in open boxes, with beautifully printed pictorial labels on the lids. Rows of sharp new jackknives covered a showcase shelf.

Mr. Stone would let customers use the restroom in the rear of the store; it was the kind with the old style tank mounted high on the wall above the toilet, with a long flush-chain hanging down. It made a terrific waterfall noise when you pulled the chain.

Harry Stone looked a bit like President Eisenhower, and usually wore a bolo tie with an agate stone. He was always nice, but he did draw the line at youngsters peeking at the pages of "Sexology" magazine.

Thank You, Harry!

Interior View, 1982
Proprietors Arlene and Jim Brunton

A Recent Google Maps View of the Building