“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Missoula in Missoula County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)

Missoula Mercantile Warehouse

Missoula Mercantile Warehouse Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 21, 2019
1. Missoula Mercantile Warehouse Marker
Inscription.  Established in 1866 under the name Bonner and Welch, the Missoula Mercantile Company quickly grew into an economic and political powerhouse. In 1890, the company handled about 60 percent of the city’s retail trade, worth $1.5 million. At the turn of the twentieth century, it was the largest mercantile business between Seattle and Minneapolis, operating Montana stores from Eureka to Bozeman. To help it handle its growing business, the mercantile built this warehouse a block east of its flagship store. Here it stored everything from farm implements and dry goods to electric pumps and crockery. An irrigation ditch known as the “Mill Race” once ran beneath the building through brick arches still visible on the interior and on the exterior’s west facade. The Mill Race brought water from Rattlesnake Creek to the town’s first grist mill located northeast of today’s Higgins Avenue Bridge. Missoula Mercantile constructed the western and middle sections of this warehouse between 1893 and 1902 and the eastern section between 1902 and 1912. Large stones on the building’s far western wall provide evidence of an even older stone warehouse that
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once adjoined this building. By the 1940s, Missoula Mercantile faced increasing competition from chain department stores. Company officials responded with an aggressive modernization campaign that included remodeling the warehouse. In 1948, the company hired noted stucco craftsman O.B. Parson to update the warehouse's front façade. Nevertheless, the business continued to lose market share and sold out to Allied Stores Corporation in 1959.
Erected by Montana National Register Sign Program.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceNotable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Montana National Register Sign Program series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1866.
Location. 46° 52.172′ N, 113° 59.578′ W. Marker is in Missoula, Montana, in Missoula County. Marker is on East Front Street near Clay Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 229 East Front Street, Missoula MT 59802, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Newton Residence and Shop (a few steps from this marker); BPOE Lodge #383 (within shouting distance of this marker); Labor Temple (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Free Speech Corner (about 700 feet
Missoula Mercantile Warehouse and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 21, 2019
2. Missoula Mercantile Warehouse and Marker
away); Headquarters Building and Daily Company Annex (about 800 feet away); Federal Building & United States Post Office (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dixon-Duncan Block (approx. 0.2 miles away); Danger Ahead! (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Missoula.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 17, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 99 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 17, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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Nov. 30, 2023