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

Ekalaka in Carter County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

First National Bank of Ekalaka/Rickard Hardware Building

 
 
First National Bank of Ekalaka/Rickard Hardware Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 12, 2020
1. First National Bank of Ekalaka/Rickard Hardware Building Marker
Inscription.  In 1934, at the height of the Great Depression, fire destroyed four Main Street buildings, including the First National Bank. When the economy recovered, local contractor V. E. Figg designed and constructed this 1940 commercial structure. With contrasting white stucco, glass block, and black tile, the Streamline Moderne style building asserted Ekalaka’s modernity while signifying a belief in the town’s future. The building’s west half served as the offices of the First National Bank until 1970. Retail stores operated here during the 1970s. Then the bank used the building for storage. In 2011 Summit National Bank donated it to the Town of Ekalaka. Now the Town Office, the interior still boasts the original bank vaults and much of the original wood trim and paneling. Rickard Hardware, owned by C. G. Mac Rickard, originally occupied the east half of the building. After the hardware store closed, the building housed a furniture store before becoming a meat locker in 1945. The locker rented freezers and processed meat in the back of building and sold ice cream in the front. In 1954, Joe and Helen Blutt purchased the business. After electricity became
First National Bank of Ekalaka/Rickard Hardware Building and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 12, 2020
2. First National Bank of Ekalaka/Rickard Hardware Building and Marker
locally available, the need for locker services declined so the Blutts expanded the front area into a teen hangout. For over twenty-five years, kids met at “The Locker” to listen to the juke box and play foosball, pinball, and pool while enjoying malts, burgers, and fries. The Locker closed in 1998 and remained vacant until the Ekalaka Public Library moved here in 2013.
 
Erected by Montana Historical Society.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EntertainmentIndustry & CommerceNotable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Montana National Register Sign Program series list.
 
Location. 45° 53.421′ N, 104° 32.897′ W. Marker is in Ekalaka, Montana, in Carter County. Marker is on Main Street near Munro Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 103 and 105 Main Street, Ekalaka MT 59324, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ekalaka (approx. 1.1 miles away); Inyan-oka-la-ka (approx. 11 miles away); Home on the Range (approx. 11.1 miles away); A River Ran Through It (approx. 11.2 miles away); Prairie Island (approx. 11.2 miles away); A Fantastically Beautiful Place: The Medicine Rocks (approx. 11.6 miles away).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 8, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 47 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 8, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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Feb. 28, 2021