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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)
 

Billings Chamber of Commerce Building

 
 
Billings Chamber of Commerce Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 15, 2020
1. Billings Chamber of Commerce Building Marker
Inscription.  J. Collins West, Exalted Ruler of Lodge 394 of the Elks Club, planned this turn-of-the-century Italian Renaissance Revival style building as a lodge hall. Billings Elks members attending the St. Louis Exposition in 1904 purchased a bar for their proposed facility. Inlaid with bands of ebony and mother-of-pearl, the bar featured leaded, stained glass windows, beer steins, and walnut paneling. Murals, a thousand dollar tapestry, hanging lamps, and doorknobs embossed with the head of an elk complemented the fine interior furnishings. The foundation features sandstone excavated from the Heffner quarry. A round stone arch on a stone pedestal highlights the entryway. Giant order scrolled columns, the Renaissance roof cornice, and bowed iron balconies dominate the front façade. A three-day dedication celebration trumpeted the completion of the building in 1910, complete with a formal lodge dedication, gala balls, a reception, and street decorations. Financial difficulties immediately began to plague the group and in 1918 the Elks sold the building to the Billings-Midland Club, precursor to the Chamber of Commerce, who occupied the space until the 1960s.
Billings Chamber of Commerce Building image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 15, 2020
2. Billings Chamber of Commerce Building
The marker is at the top of the stairs on 3rd Avenue North.
In 1971, a group of local businessmen announced that the structure would be razed and a parking lot built on the site. Two auctions occurred as a result, and many of the original interior decorations were sold. A group of concerned citizens, organized as the Save-the-Chamber- Committee, rescued the building from demolition. Demolition plans again surfaced in the early 1990s but investors opted to renovate the landmark and preserve the building.
 
Erected by Montana Historical Society.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & CommerceNotable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Montana National Register Sign Program series list.
 
Location. 45° 47.081′ N, 108° 30.372′ W. Marker is in Billings, Montana, in Yellowstone County. Marker is on North 27th Street (State Highway 3), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 301 North 27th Street, 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. Electric Building (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Babcock Theater (about 700 feet away); The Dude Rancher Lodge (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Gazette Building - circa 1935 (approx. ¼ mile away);
Billings Chamber of Commerce Building image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 15, 2020
3. Billings Chamber of Commerce Building
The Billings Opera House - circa 1915 (approx. ¼ mile away); Standing Outside the Stockman's Café (approx. ¼ mile away); Oliver Building (approx. ¼ mile away); The 2700 Block, Montana Avenue - circa 1909 (approx. ¼ mile 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 44 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 6, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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Mar. 8, 2021