Smith's (also Smith) Cafe

436 (now 438) N. Main St., 1943-1953

New York native Cassius Clay Smith (b.1893-d.1959) and wife Agnes Lundby Smith (b.1903 in North Dakota- d.?) operated Smith's cafe from 1943 until about 1953. The address was 436 North Main, which today is 438 North Main, on the southwest corner of Main and Placer.

Cassius Smith was a cook by trade, having served in that capacity in the US Army during WWI, and later as a lunchroom cook for the Northern Pacific Railroad.

Smith's Mineral Oil Mayonnaise


During World War II, restrictions were placed on the domestic use of butter and cooking oils. As a result, manufacturers substituted mineral oil in some products. Food-grade mineral oil is edible, but it acts as a laxative.

Cassius Clay Smith produced and sold mineral oil-based mayonnaise at the cafe. How successful it was is unknown. The jar pictured above may be the only remaining artifact of Smith's endeavor.


The restaurant was apparently remodeled in 1949, as newspaper ads were placed for the sale of booths and other equipment. It closed in late 1952 or early 1953.

Cassius and Agnes had a daughter in Helena, Norine Agnes Smith. Cassius died in San Diego, California in 1959, and is buried at Highland Cemetery in Great Falls, Montana. I don't know what happened to Agnes or their daughter Norine.