Hikers atop Mount Helena, circa 1910


CHARLES J. TIPTON COLLECTION

Welcome to Helena As She Was

Online since 2006, this extensive local history website is the product of over 100 individual contributors of photographs and other material, which they have generously shared. It is presented here free of charge and free of advertising, as a resource for researchers, students, and people who just want to recall days gone by. The associated facebook group has over 9,000 members.

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.

Who Does This Site?

"Helena As She Was" was created by Kennon Baird, a fourth-generation Helenan. He continues as the site's curator and publisher. Ken is a member of the Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers, and the Montana Historical Society.

Contact him via email.

How to Contribute Material and/ or Help Financially
If you have photographs of Helena or the surrounding area that you would like to share via this site, please contact me via email. For particulars about sending material, please click here. I occasionally buy old photos of Helena if the subject matter is good and the price is reasonable.

Financial Contibutions: this site is ad-free and is always free to access, but it takes a considerable amount of time and money to keep it online and growing. We receive no grants or public funding.

If you benefit from this resource, please consider making a donation, via PayPal, to help with expenses. It is most appreciated!


 
Terms of Use

The material presented on this site is intended for non-commercial, educational use. Some collections represented here have high-resolution scans of photos available for commercial use. Kindly direct inquiries about such here.

If you repost photos from this site on social media, please credit www.helenahistory.org


Online History Research Tools You Can 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. Some are free, others are by subscription.



12/02/2017 - Henry L. and Jack D. Lay
HELENA AIRPLANE BUILDERS AND FLIERS, 1920S-30S
8/25/2017 - 1916 Confederate Fountain UPDATE
REMOVED BY HELENA CITY COMMISSION ON AUGUST 18 2017, WITHOUT A VOTE BY THE PEOPLE. WHEREBAOUTS UNKNOWN, FUTURE UNCERTAIN
6/28/2017 - Old Brewery Theatre
ADDED ARE PDF FILES OF THE 1967 AND 1968 SEASON PROGRAMS

12/27/2016 -Ringling Bros. Circus, 1902
PHOTOS FROM THE CHARLES J. TIPTON COLLECTION

12/09/2016 - Caird Engineering Works
HELENA INDUSTRY 1895 TO 2014
8/30/2016 - Golden Glow
THE ILL-FATED OFFICIAL FLOWER OF HELENA 1919 TO 1926
5/3/2016 - Forestvale Cemetery
THE RESTING PLACE OF OVER 14,000 SOULS. SINCE 1890
3/24/2016 - Log Cabin Grocery
A TINY NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET AT 627 BROADWAY, IN OPERATION FROM 1933 TO 1977. THE LOG BUILDING STILL STANDS
3/13/2016 - Peter Pan Drive-Inn UPDATE
ADDED ARE TWO BEAUTIFUL CA. 1940 COLOR PHOTOS OF THE INTERIOR OF THIS LONG-GONE 'STREAMLINE MODERNE' CAFE
2/7/2016 - Chinese Masonic Temple
IT STOOD AT 306-1/2 WEST MAIN ST. FROM 1897 TO CIRCA 1920.
SOME COLORFUL ARTIFACTS SURVIVE
1/19/2016 - Weiss Cafe UPDATE
ADDED IS A WONDERFUL 1949 POEM ABOUT WORKING AT THE WEISS CAFE, WRITTEN BY WILLIAM C. FORD, A FORMER PORTER AT THE WEISS
11/18/2015 - Model Torpedo Boat 'Wasatch"
TOURING U.S. NAVY RECRUITING TOOL, IN HELENA JUNE, 1920
11/16/2015 - Queen City Meat Market
A BUTCHER SHOP AT 105 BROADWAY, 1907-1908
11/8/2015 - Scotty's Drive-in
A DISTINCTIVE 'GOOGIE' STYLE DRIVE-IN RESTAURANT AT 1250 PROSPECT AVE. IN BUSINESS FROM 1962 TO 1972
11/1/2015 - Marlow Theatre UPDATE
A MAJOR UPDATE OF THE MARLOW THEATRE FEATURE, INCLUDING NEWSPAPER ACCOUNTS OF THE PLANNING AND CONSTRUCTION OF HELENA'S LATE, BELOVED SHOWPLACE; A DESCRIPTION OF THE THEATER WHEN NEW; NOTABLE STAGE PERFORMERS AND MORE
10/7/2015 - Saint Paul's Methodist Church
ST.PAUL'S IS THE OLDEST CHURCH IN HELENA, AND THIRD OLDEST IN MONTANA
8/7/2015 - Last Chance Drive-Inn
SUMMERTIME TREATS AT 2038 N. MAIN FROM 1953 TO 1960
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 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
1904 Federal Building
NOW THE CITY-COUNTY BUILDING
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
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.
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 Yvonne Proul Hufford
Bernadette Powers St. Paul's United Methodist Church Tim Holmes Dodie Hohn
Mickey Czerniski William C. Ford Kevin Lordemann Jack Rudio
Paul E. Paulsen Jr. Dawn DeHart Lofthouse Guy Duncan Forestvale Cemetery
Richard Spaulding John M. Barrows James Nuss Kevin Fitzgerald
Gail Von Tersch Brown Jeff Morrison    



DISCLAIMER ...This site is educational and non-commercial in nature. To the best of my knowledge, the small number of images presented on these pages which not sent in by contributors, are either in the public domain or are used in accordance with Fair Use practices. If you have concerns about this, contact me.