Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Depot, Great Falls

The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway was constructed between 1907 and 1909, the last transcontinental railroad to cross Montana. Its service to Great Falls during the homestead boom supported the city’s establishment as a major urban center for central Montana. When the Milwaukee Road completed this passenger depot in January of 1915, railway officials hailed it as the finest of its kind between Spokane and Chicago. The terminal is the only building in Great Falls made of “flash” brick, which is burned and unevenly fired. The 135-foot tower became a Great Falls landmark, acting as a giant marker of the depot’s location. The corporate logos 100 feet up on each side of the tower were the first of this type, designed to be used on any railway station in the United States. They are composed of small, high-grade tiles pointed with tinted mortar to create a seamless effect—even if viewed close up. Each sign measures 17 feet by 10 feet. This grand railroad depot compares favorably with the Milwaukee Road’s passenger depots in Miles City (1909), Butte (1916-17), and Missoula (1910).

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River Drive North, Great Falls, Montana ~ private