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

Billings in Yellowstone County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Electric Building

 
 
Electric Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 15, 2020
1. Electric Building Marker
Inscription.  Billings was but a fledgling townsite along the Northern Pacific Railroad’s route when the Billings Water Company brought the first electrical current into the settlement in 1887. By 1908, Billings had the lead as a busy agricultural hub. Arrival of the Great Northern Railway and the Enlarged Homestead Act in 1909 brought Billings further to the forefront. At the heart of the dry-land farming movement and the homesteading boom, Billings was the sixth- fastest growing community in the nation. The city’s streetscape mirrored its importance as grand architecture replaced first-generation buildings. The Montana Power Company rivaled Billings’ most impressive architecture with the construction of this five-story landmark in 1914. A testament to the creativity and technical prowess of preeminent Montana architect John G. Link, the unique illuminated façade visually showcased the Montana Power Company and its essential presence in eastern Montana. Link’s design is a visually captivating and complicated expression of stylistic transition. A strong vertical emphasis and white terra cotta-faced surface foreshadow the 1920s Art Deco movement while engaged
Electric Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 15, 2020
2. Electric Building Marker
The marker is on the left, to the right of the doorway.
columns, Corinthian capitals, and gothic-arched cornice embellishments reflect classical revival ideals. An innovative indirect lighting system employed vertical panels of translucent milk glass. Strands of incandescent colored lights, dangled into 50-foot channels, lit the panels. Lights bouncing off the terra cotta facing made the façade appear to glow. Inside are high ceilings, a marbled stairwell, and period tile floors. This grand early Modern style building well reflects the fine talent of its architect and the economic prosperity of Montana’s homestead era.
 
Erected by Montana Historical Society.
 
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.
 
Location. 45° 46.96′ N, 108° 30.367′ W. Marker is in Billings, Montana, in Yellowstone County. Marker is on North Broadway near 2nd Avenue North, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 113 North Broadway, Billings MT 59101, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Babcock Theater (within shouting distance of this marker); Standing Outside the Stockman's Café (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Billings Opera House - circa 1915
Electric Building image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 15, 2020
3. Electric Building
(about 600 feet away); The Chapple Drug Store - 1893 (about 600 feet away); Billings' First Bank - 1883 (about 600 feet away); The Gazette Building - circa 1935 (about 600 feet away); The Selvidge/Babcock Building - circa 1925 (about 600 feet away); Losekamp Block (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Billings.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 6, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 51 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 6, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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Mar. 5, 2021