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Helena in Lewis and Clark County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

St. Louis Block

Helena Historic District

 
 
St. Louis Block Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, July 14, 2021
1. St. Louis Block Marker
Inscription.  Once connected to the old St. Louis Hotel on Jackson Street, this 1882 building in the heart of Helena’s original downtown displays the metal cornices and banded, pedimented windows typical of Italianate style architecture of the time. Pioneer businessman Frederick Gamer’s boot and shoe shop, founded in 1867, was located here for many years. The St. Louis Block also housed a bank, a vaudeville house, a saloon, and a bowling alley. It is probably best remembered, however, as “Big Dorothy’s,” which, until 1973, was the last in a long and colorful succession of Helena’s red-light district brothels.
 
Erected by Montana Historical Society.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EntertainmentNotable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Montana National Register Sign Program series list.
 
Location. 46° 35.178′ N, 112° 2.4′ W. Marker is in Helena, Montana, in Lewis and Clark County. Marker is on South Last Chance Gulch near East Broadway Street, on the right
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when traveling north. This portion of Last Chance Gulch is a pedestrian mall and is closed to vehicular traffic. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 17-21 South Last Chance Gulch, Helena MT 59601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Raleigh and Clarke Dry Goods (a few steps from this marker); Sands Brothers Dry Goods (a few steps from this marker); Dunphy Block (a few steps from this marker); Boston Block (a few steps from this marker); Original Helena Streetcar (within shouting distance of this marker); Montana's Capital (within shouting distance of this marker); Earthquakes of 1935 (within shouting distance of this marker); California Wine House (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
 
Also see . . .  Dorothy's Rooms • 19½ South Main -- Helena As She Was (helenahistory.org). Nice photo galley.
" When Big Dorothy passed away in 1973, her family decided to auction her belongings off. My friend Jack Hargrove was hired to do the job. One evening he and I went up there to see all the items he would be selling. I brought a camera and took some photos. I would not claim that these are the only pictures ever taken there, but I would venture to say they are at the very least quite rare. These are interior photos of her establishment exactly as it was when they closed her down." -- Wally Peel (Submitted on November 25, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.)
St. Louis Block and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, July 14, 2021
2. St. Louis Block and Marker
 
 
Additional keywords. prostitution
 
Historian Ellen Baumler in Dorothy's Bathroom, 2012 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Eliza Wiley, Helena Independent Record, May 2, 2020
3. Historian Ellen Baumler in Dorothy's Bathroom, 2012
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 25, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 90 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 25, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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Apr. 24, 2024