The Hotel Helena, 114 Grand St.

Built 1889 - Demolished 1972
Also known as the Helena Hotel and Helena Apartments


Hotel Helena Letterhead, circa 1900


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


LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

The Helena Hotel, 1890

The 1889 Hotel Helena (known after 1912 as the Helena Apartments) was a solid five-story brick building in the heart of downtown. It was located on Grand Street, which connected Jackson St. with North Warren. Grand Street and all the formidable Victorian buildings on it were demolished in the 1970s during "Urban Renewal".

The Hotel Helena was damaged by a fire in 1912, but the walls were strong and it was possible to rebuild within them. The building was modified at that time into an apartment house, and remained so until it was demolished in 1972.

The engraving above shows awnings in the south-facing windows. Other representations and photographs of the building I've seen do not show awnings. If the hotel ever really had them is open to question.

Your host lived on the fifth floor of this building in 1969-70. It was quite serviceable then, and would no doubt be a coveted address today.



Location of The Hotel Helena and Grand St.

 

 

Hotel Helena, circa 1892

LITHOGRAPH BY WARD BROS., COLUMBUS OHIO - COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD


Trade Tokens

 


Souvenir Match Safe


 

 

Mark Twain Stayed at the Hotel Helena
Aug. 3 & 4, 1895

Samuel Clemens, "Mark Twain", stayed at the Hotel Helena during his 1895 international speaking tour. He spoke at the nearby Ming Opera House on Jackson Street. Portions of the Ming auditorium still exist as part of the Consistory Shrine Temple.

For an account of Twain's Helena appearance, plus other stops in Montana and elsewhere on the 1895 tour, please visit this excellent site.

 

 

1906 Newspaper Ad for the Hotel Helena

Henry C. Barth (1871-1952) was a long-time proprietor of the Hotel Helena, overseeing conversion of the building into apartments after the 1912 fire.

"The American Plan" referred to in the ad means that the quoted rate includes three meals a day, provided by the hotel dining room.

 

The Fire of 1912


FROM "HELENA", A POSTCARD HISTORY, COURTESY OF AUTHOR TOM MULVANEY
CLICK IMAGE ABOVE FOR A BIG VIEW IN A NEW WINDOW

A view of the February 1912 fire, taken from Main St. On the left is the Securities Building, still standing today. On the right is a corner of the Thompson Block, which would be demolished in 1914 to make way for the Placer Hotel.

The Hotel Fowlie at 108 Grand would later become the "Helena Hotel", but it had no connection with the Hotel Helena. That building was also demolished during Urban Renewal. Available online newspaper archives show nothing for a Hotel Fowlie, although there was a prominent Fowlie family in the White Sulpher Springs area.



The Blaze Seen from Fifth Avenue


COURTESY OF THE RAY AND PHIL JEZICK COLLECTION, VIA CAPT. SEAN LOGAN & THE HELENA FIRE DEPARTMENT

 

 


COURTESY OF SEAN LOGAN

Henry C. Barth (1871-1952) operated the hotel/apartments until 1917, when he sold to Kate Crehan (1864-1929), who previously operated the Montana Hotel in Billings. Crehan sold to Rose Foster (1879-1955) in 1928. Foster was the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Kranich, who owned Central Park, an amusement park west of Helena. She had operated hotels in Craig, Augusta and Gilman. Foster sold out and retired about 1945.

 

 

Hotel Helena Demolished During Urban Renewal, 1972



How Soon We Forget...