Kennedy - Fletcher Block

A pressed metal cornice, door surrounds made of cast iron, and an exposed steel I-beam distinguish the façade of the 1907 Kennedy-Fletcher block. Geo. L. Mesker and Co. of Bedford, Indiana, the largest architectural ironworks in the country, manufactured the decorative metal elements, which feature ornamented floral and leaf designs, simple swags, fleur-de-lis, and other classical motifs. Mass-produced metal detailing was a less expensive form of decoration than stone. By contrast, the steel I-beam separating the first and second floors has a primarily structural purpose. The I-beam transfers weight away from the large display windows used to beckon customers. Its defining decorative rosettes are actually a glorified plate-and-bolt assembly that holds structurally important tie rods. The largest commercial building in Forsyth at the time of its construction, the department store was also the first brick commercial block erected off Main Street.  E. A. Richardson bought the business in 1908. In 1916, he sold an expanded operation to his department managers, who transformed the building into three separate stores that sold groceries, dry goods, and hardware and furniture.

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180 North 9th Avenue, Forsyth, Montana ~ private