Townsend, Montana

Located about 30 miles southeast of Helena, Townsend was created by the Northern Pacific Railroad In 1882. The city was named by railroad officials, in honor of the wife of Charles Barstow Wright (1822-1898), President of the Northern Pacific from 1875 to 1879.



Cedar Street, Townsend, circa 1900
Probably the 200 block of South Cedar

 

 

Potato Race, Main St., Townsend Montana, July 4 1914




Broadway Street, 1916

 



Broadway Street, 1947


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD • CLICK ON IMAGE TO OPEN A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW

 

Broadway Street, circa 1960



Golden Jubilee, Esther Chapter No. 3., Order of the Eastern Star
May 24, 1938 • Broadwater High School Gymnasium


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD • CLICK ON IMAGE TO OPEN A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW
The woman sitting next to the flag is, Viola Myrle Brisbin, née Spear, (1892-1962)



Town Talk Cafe
205 Broadway

The Town Talk Cafe opened around 1938 at 205 Broadway. It is pictured above in 1946 or '47. The figure of a parrot tops the sign.

The original two-story building that occupied the site housed the Patriarchal Circle Hall on the top floor, and businesses below (The Patriarchal Circle was an offshoot of the Odd Fellows). In February of 1936, a fire destroyed the P. C. Hall and adjacent buildings, including the Home Cafe, which was on the ground floor of the Hall. The 1977 book "Broadwater Bygones, A History of Broadwater County" describes it this way (thanks to Charleen Spalding for the excerpt):

 

Town Talk Cafe Interior, Circa 1947

COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD • CLICK ON IMAGE TO OPEN A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW

A real-photo postcard view of the Town Talk Cafe interior. The date is probably 1947. There are interesting details in the photo which help to date it. For example, advertisements for the "Bank Club" punch board seen on the left-hand side of the photo appeared in Billboard Magazine in 1947. The counter-top jukebox selector units are for a 1947 Packard Pla-Mor jukebox. 1947 was also a year when the Town Talk changed hands, being purchased by Charles and Verna Adams from Mr. & Mrs. M. B. Ness, so it's quite possible that the new owners had these postcards made for advertising purposes.

Other owners over the decades included Ira Richardson, Emma Morrison, Betty and Gene Thom. The last mention I find of the Town Talk Cafe in online Helena newspaper archives is from 1976.

The hanging mirrored fixture in the 1947 photo is a speaker for the Packard Pla-Mor jukebox. Here's a recent photo of one such speaker, and a video of one in action...



 

 


A Mission Orangeade Syrup Dispenser, As Seen on the Counter



Trout Derby, 1950

The River Inn Nite Club and Motel
Just north of Townsend • Opened in 1941 -- Building Moved to Lakeside, 1965

The River Inn was built in 1941 by Lester Goodwin (1897-1986). He later built six motel cottages adjacent to the Inn. Situated near the bank of the Missouri River, the building suffered repeated damage from ice-jams after the construction of the current Canyon Ferry Dam. In 1965, the property was apparently purchased by the Bureau of Reclamation, and the buildings were sold to be moved, The Inn was purchased by one Gary Smith for $1,111, and is now at Lakeside.

 

The River Inn Nite Club is now the Lakeside Bar


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