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22 Jefferson Street
Albert Kleinschmidt Home Short-lived Brothel • Florence Crittenton Home
22 Jefferson St., circa 1927 Florence Crittenton Home
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View from Downtown, circa 1897
This large Second Empire-style home, built by German-born entrepreneur Albert Kleinschmidt (1844-1920), stood at 22 Jefferson St. from 1882 to 1988, when it was destroyed by a fire, determined by the insurance company to have been arson. A 1935 addition to the west side of the original house still stands.
After about 1902, Albert resided at least part of the time in Oakland, California (he is interred in Oakland). The house on Jefferson Street in Helena was offered for sale or rent for several years in the early 1900s.
In 1911, the Montana Conservatory of Music set up operation in the house...
Montana Conservatory of Music, 1911
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The Conservatory endeavor evidently only lasted about one year. It was operated by Herbert Love Houston (1881-unknown, after 1942) and his wife Mary Waters Houston (1883-1964). Herbert, who may have come to Helena in 1892 as a newspaperman, played violin and piano around Helena until about 1924. He and Mary divorced. He lived in Los Angeles in his later years.
A Mrs. Nora Dolan operated a boarding house at 22 Jefferson, 1913-14.
In late 1917, things got a bit more interesting when two Main Street madams, Teddy Fisher and Billy Billings, attempted to move their brothel from the Novelty Block to 22 Jefferson St. The neighbors were not pleased...
The Florence Crittenton Home Era 1925-1973
Please click here for a short history of the Crittenton Home
"The Making Of A Good Woman" by Ellen Baumler
In 1973, the Crittenton Home moved to smaller quarters in the old Montana Children's Home on Helena Avenue. Many of the antique furnishings of 22 Jefferson were sold at auction in October of 1973.
The building was subsequently sold to Neil K. Anderson.
May 1988 Arson Fire
Photos Courtesy of the Helena Fire Department, via Sean Logan
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