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

Great Falls in Cascade County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Great Falls Central Business Historic District

 
 
Great Falls Central Business Historic District Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2019
1. Great Falls Central Business Historic District Marker
Inscription.  An eclectic cultural landscape has long characterized the West Bank. Separated from downtown Great Falls by the broad Missouri River, the larger neighborhood has hosted a varied mix of industrial, residential, and commercial development since the 1880s. The site of Johnstown, the earliest permanent Euro-American settlement, the greater West Bank area was also home to historic-era Chippewa-Cree encampments. The area began developing an industrial character after 1887, when the railroad arrived in Great Falls and constructed a roundhouse and shops nearby. A Great Northern spur line ran northeast along the West Bank to the Boston and Montana, later Anaconda Company’s Black Eagle smelter, encouraging nearby industrial development. The most prominent West Bank industry of the early twentieth century was the Sunburst Oil Refinery, which operated from 1923 to 1933. Two buildings remain as a tribute to the West Bank’s role in this early oil boom. Non-industrial development also increased in the early 1900s. Attracted by inexpensive land prices and the proximity of downtown, more residents constructed permanent homes. Improved roads and the construction
Great Falls Central Business Historic District Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2019
2. Great Falls Central Business Historic District Marker
The backside of the marker is visible on Central Avenue to the left of the stoplight.
of the Northern Montana Fairgrounds in 1931 drew retail and entertainment establishments. During the Great Depression, New Deal programs sponsored the construction of two of the district’s most notable landmarks: the WPA warehouse, built in 1939 as an operations base for the Works Progress Administration; and the 1940 Cowboys Bar and Museum, home of the Montana Cowboys Association. Today, six well-preserved residential, commercial, and industrial buildings compose this small, historic district, which epitomizes the West Bank’s diverse history.
 
Erected by The Montana National Register Sign Program.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Montana National Register Sign Program marker series.
 
Location. 47° 30.321′ N, 111° 17.936′ W. Marker is in Great Falls, Montana, in Cascade County. Marker is at the intersection of Central Avenue and 5th Street, on the left when traveling west on Central Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 500 Central Avenue, Great Falls MT 59401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. F.W. Woolworth Building (within shouting distance of this marker); S.H. Kress and Company (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lemon Boarding House (about 400 feet away); "Nibbles"
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(about 600 feet away); Bus Depot and Garage (about 700 feet away); Methodist Parsonage (about 800 feet away); First United Methodist Church Parsonage (about 800 feet away); First Methodist Church (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Great Falls.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceNotable Buildings
 

More. Search the internet for Great Falls Central Business Historic District.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 22, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 22, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 35 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 22, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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