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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Fort Benton in Chouteau County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Grand Union Hotel

 
 
Grand Union Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2019
1. Grand Union Hotel Marker
Inscription.  This grandiose, three-story Italianate style hotel welcomed weary river travelers to the Gateway of the Northwest, offering guests a luxurious refuge before setting out for less civilized destinations. Its opening in 1882 came at the end of the steamboat era, when Fort Benton was still an unchallenged commercial hub. The very next year, however, the Northern Pacific transcontinental line was completed across Montana, diminishing the town’s position as a commercial center. Constructed of soft local brick with intricate corbelling and distinctive windows, the “Waldorf of the West” featured a saloon, dining room, a saddle room for cowboys to store their gear in winter, and a secret lookout room where guards could supervise gold shipments. A separate ladies’ stairway led to elegant parlors since women never entered rooms adjoining saloons. Each room had handsome black walnut, marble-topped furnishings and, originally, its own woodstove and fancy chimney. From its vantage point near the docks, the Grand Union presided over the arrival of everything from stamp mills to grand pianos, brought by steamboat and transferred to ox-team freight
Grand Union Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2019
2. Grand Union Hotel Marker
To the right of the door.
wagons. The fine design by architect Thomas Tweedy reflects a prosperous and optimistic town, unaware of the imminent coming of the railroad and its disastrous effects on the town’s economy.
 
Erected by Montana Historical Society; Department of the Interior, National Register of Historic Places.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Montana National Register Sign Program series list.
 
Location. 47° 48.983′ N, 110° 40.096′ W. Marker is in Fort Benton, Montana, in Chouteau County. Marker is at the intersection of 14th Street and Front Street, on the left when traveling north on 14th Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 704 14th Street, Fort Benton MT 59442, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Stockmen's National Bank (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Grand Union Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Benton Levee (within shouting distance of this marker); Shep's Vigil (within shouting distance of this marker); Bank of Northern Montana (within shouting distance of this marker); Masonic Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct
Grand Union Hotel image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2019
3. Grand Union Hotel
line); Fort Benton Engine House (about 400 feet away); First Fire Engine House (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Benton.
 
Grand Union Hotel image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 22, 2020
4. Grand Union Hotel
Grand Union Hotel lobby image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 22, 2020
5. Grand Union Hotel lobby
Grand Union Hotel bar image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 22, 2020
6. Grand Union Hotel bar
Grand Union Hotel pressed tin ceiling image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 22, 2020
7. Grand Union Hotel pressed tin ceiling
Grand Union Hotel image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, circa 1885
8. Grand Union Hotel
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 1, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 65 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 1, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.   4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on November 22, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.   8. submitted on November 1, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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Dec. 4, 2020