Began as a Richardson Root Beer Franchise in 1949
Opened as Martello's
18 1949, Jean and John Martello opened the Richardson Root
Beer franchise "Martello's Drive-Inn" at 1000 N.
Main. They sold out in 1952 to Gertrude A. Dorner Richeson
and her husband Bob. Gertie's Drive-In became a mainstay in
Helena for decades, and Gertie became known as "The Hamburger
Queen". Richeson sold the business, and the "Gertie's"
name, in 1961.
Drive-in looked very much like the illustration in the ad
above. The existing brick structure (now Flathead Travel Services)
was opened by new Gertie's Owner, Ralph A. Hahn, on May 23,
as Gertie's, 1952
Sign on North Main, Early 1950s
in a 2001 Independent Record newspaper feature: My
mother cooked a 33-pound turkey every day and a roast and a
great big ham, and I would cook a big kettle of chili and all
of it would be gone by the end of the day. We made everything
ourselves and we dipped our own ice cream no packaged
stuff at our place, not us, course there wasnt any back
An illustration of what the original Gertie's sign looked like.
closing ad, 1952.
Sells to Ralph A. Hahn, 1961
sold out to Ralph A. Hahn about 1961, but her name and reputation
continued for the life of the drive-in.
A. Hahn, 1956
from Gertie's Drive-in, 1960s, with the cryptic legend "Recommended
by Ralph A. Hahn". Hahn (1923-1985) was the owner then;
he also jointly owned the Sky-Hi Drive-in Theatre east of Helena.
Hahn was a real estate broker who had interests in other enterprises
in the Helena and Lincoln areas, including the Hofbrau on Euclid
Opening of the New Gertie's, May 22 1962
ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW
Drive-In closed about 1990, and is still remembered fondly
by many Helenans. The "Gertie Burger" and Gertie's
turkey sandwiches are especially missed.
back to RESTAURANTS & BARS