Reeder's Alley

Pennsylvania brick mason Louis Reeder came to Helena in 1867 to practice his trade. Reeder invested in real estate and among his properties were these lots along the steep hillside of West Cutler Street. Between 1875 and 1884 Reeder constructed a series of apartments and bunkhouses offering single miners a comfortable alternative to log cabin accommodations. The simple masonry provided permanence and resistance to fire, a menace that plagued the early community. The complex included some thirty-five housing units in a collection of stone and brick buildings, including an existing log cabin Reeder ingeniously incorporated into the largest structure. The area was already known as Reeder’s Alley when Reeder died after a fall in 1884. The miners moved on, but over the years tenants remained mostly single and male. Twenty-three pensioners lived at Reeder’s Alley in 1961 when these buildings were rescued from demolition and rehabilitation begun. The narrow alleyway and closely spaced buildings nestled against the slope of Mount Helena today comprise the town’s most complete remaining block of the territorial period.

Images

[South Howie Street bridge across Reeder's Alley, Helena, MT]

[South Howie Street bridge across Reeder's Alley, Helena, MT]

South Howie Street bridge across Reeder's Alley, Helena, MT Catalog #PAc 83-98 f3 | Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana | Creator: Unidentified photographer View File Details Page

[Reeder's Alley, looking across Last Chance Gulch to the Fire Tower and Catholic Hill]

[Reeder's Alley, looking across Last Chance Gulch to the Fire Tower and Catholic Hill]

"Helena, home at Bridge St." [Reeder's Alley, looking across Last Chance Gulch to the Fire Tower and Catholic Hill] [no date] Catalog #PAc 83-98.92 | Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana | Creator: Unidentified photographer View File Details Page

Helena, Reeder's Alley. Jim Jackson in foreground.

Helena, Reeder's Alley. Jim Jackson in foreground.

Helena, Reeder's Alley. Jim Jackson in foreground. Catalog #PAc 83-98.95 | Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana | Creator: Unidentified photographer View File Details Page

Access Information:

private

Street Address:

105-206 Reeder's Alley, Helena, Montana
(Southwest corner downtown off Park Avenue) [map]

Cite this Page:

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Reeder's Alley,” Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places, accessed March 30, 2017, http://explorebig.org/items/show/9.

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