1890 Montana Guard Arsenal
& 1942 Montana Guard Armory


The 1890 Arsenal • 1029 N. Warren St.

The Montana National Guard Arsenal on N. Warren St. was formally opened May 9 1890. It was extensively damaged by the 1935 earhquakes, and subsequently demolished.



Footprint of the 1890 Arsenal



Fire Dept. Equipment on Display at the Arsenal, ca. 1890


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COURTESY OF CAPT. SEAN LOGAN & THE HELENA FIRE DEPT.
FOR MORE HISTORIC HFD PHOTOS, CLICK HERE!

This ca. 1890 display of Helena Fire Department equipment was held on the south side of the Arsenal. The lettering on the side of the Arsenal appears to promote an art exposition, which was presumably held in the Arsenal. The smaller brick building in the background still stands at 1040 Helena Ave., although it has been enlarged and the brickwork stuccoed over.

 

 

Destruction of the Arsenal by the 1935 Earthquakes

 




COURTESY OF SCOTT NELSON

Major Sol Peterson, the only person injured in the collapse, is carried out on a stretcher.

 

Rear of the Arsenal, Looking Northwest


COURTESY OF THE SEAN LOGAN COLLECTION • CLICK ON IMAGE TO OPEN A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW

 

Post-Quake Cleanup, Rear of the Arsenal


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Because the equipment stored within the Arsenal was so well-stored, it all went undamaged during the quakes. However, some 25 rifles were stolen from the building right after the earthquakes; they were found in Lake Helena, near the west end of the old bridge, in 1937.

 

A Recent View of the Arsenal Site

 
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The 1942 Montana National Guard Armory
Construction of the New Armory Began in 1940

The Armory under construction, 1942 • 1100 N. Last Chance Gulch at Lyndale


THE WES AND CAROL SYNNESS COLLECTION



 

This building is now occupied by State of Montana offices.

 

The Armory Circus & Carnival Showgrounds

For many years, traveling shows, such as the Siebrand Bros. Circus and Carnival, would set up on the large open area behind the Armory. In September of 1953, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailry Circus set up their big top.




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