In 1882, pioneer Thomas Alexander traded a parcel of land to the Northern Pacific in exchange for other property nearby. Alexander’s farm became the town of Forsyth and Alexander became an important local merchant and real estate developer. Among his other ventures, he constructed four brick buildings on Main Street’s 900 block. In 1897, he rented this one to a hardware and saddlery shop; construction of the second floor, which features a cornice decorated with a row of short pilasters, was still underway. In 1902 Alexander sold the western commercial style building to Peter Droese, who operated a drugstore here until 1933. Droese helped found Forsyth’s telephone service in 1900 and, despite being a man, worked as its first “Hello Girl.” In the teens, Droese stuccoed the building’s exterior, which perhaps had suffered damage when the nearby American Hotel burned in 1912. In 1933, Ike Blakesley and Jack Mason converted the drugstore into “Club Cigar,” later known as Blakesley’s. Ike’s son Glen continued to operate the popular bar and lunch room into the 1980s.

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933 Main Street, Forsyth, Montana ~ private