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

Kluge House

Kluge House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, July 15, 2021
1. Kluge House Marker
Inscription.  This rare example of European half-timber construction in the midst of a Montana mining camp beautifully illustrates how pioneer buildings often reflected the cultural traditions of their builders. After distinguished service as an infantryman in two wars, German-born Emil Kluge came to the United States in 1871. He and his bride first settled in Detroit, where tales of gold discoveries soon drew the couple west. Kluge, his wife, and their small son arrived in Helena in 1873, where Kluge realized little profit in mining. He became one of Helena’s first policemen, served as constable, street commissioner, and justice of the peace, ran contracting and quarry businesses, and later became well-known across the state as secretary of the Masonic bodies of Montana. But it is this unassuming home that gave Emil Kluge an indelible niche in Montana history. Kluge brought his family to live in an 1860s cabin of hewn square logs. Salvaging timbers from a nearby abandoned flume, Kluge added the half-timbered upper story using a medieval building technique he learned in his native Prussia. It is one of only several such examples in the United States. Kluge
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lived here through the 1890s and the home was later abandoned. A target for vandalism and vagrants, it was stripped, defaced, and nearly destroyed by fire. Locals dubbed it “the Maverick” because it stood alone. The City of Helena purchased the forgotten treasure and state and federal funding allowed initial restoration in the early 1970s. The building has been privately owned since 1988.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureLaw EnforcementNotable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Montana National Register Sign Program series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1871.
Location. 46° 34.857′ N, 112° 2.89′ W. Marker is in Helena, Montana, in Lewis and Clark County. Marker is on West Main Street near Carriage Lane, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 540 West Main Street, 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. 488-490 West Main Street (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lawrence and Amanda Beaver Residence (about 400 feet away); Elisha and Joseph Poad House (about 500 feet away); Samuel Dempster House (about 600 feet away); Helena West Main Street Historic District (approx. 0.2 miles away); B.K. Tatem House
Kluge House and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, July 15, 2021
2. Kluge House and Marker
(approx. 0.2 miles away); Last Chance Gulch (approx. ¼ mile away); Henry Hay Homestead (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 5, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 76 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 5, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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Dec. 10, 2023