Pioneer businessman Thomas Alexander founded Forsyth’s first bank in 1892. In 1898, he built this ashlar stone bank building with material quarried within a mile of Forsyth. Three small panels on the cornice commemorate the year of construction and the building’s original function. Although stone was widely used for foundations, Merchant’s Bank is one of the few Forsyth buildings built completely of stone. Large, plate-glass commercial windows and an inset entryway originally marked the street level façade. Inside, “commodious vaults of stone and steel” helped safeguard deposits from theft or fire. Capitalized at $12,000 in 1900, Merchant’s Bank was a small bank even for its day. Nevertheless, it remained Forsyth’s only bank until 1901. By 1903, the bank had moved, and two storefronts, occupied by a barbershop and a carpentry/tin shop, shared this space. Not long after, J. Z. Northway opened a butcher shop here, where he sold meat and fresh sausage, which he manufactured in the circa 1910 rear brick addition. A community institution, the Forsyth Meat Market operated on Main Street into the 1930s.

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971 Main Street, Forsyth, Montana ~ private