Great Falls Northside Residential Historic District

Tour curated by: The Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places Team

Great Falls founder Paris Gibson was drawn to the power of the falls of the Missouri where he vowed to found an industrial center of “unsurpassed beauty.” Backed by railroad magnate James J. Hill, Gibson hired H. P. Rolfe to plat the townsite in 1883. Industry harnessed the river’s power and the advent of the railroad in 1887 assured the town a future. The Northside District, part of the original townsite, was planned as a neighborhood removed from industrial activity but still convenient to it. By the 1890s doctors, lawyers, politicians, businessmen, and smelter officials had begun to settle in its neighborhoods. More than 200 beautifully preserved homes and buildings span the period from 1885 to 1945, offering a medley of period architectural styles including Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Craftsman Bungalow, Prairie, and Moderne. The work of renowned architect George Shanley, a Northside resident, indelibly colors the district. The Classical Revival style Sacred Heart Convent and the Romanesque Revival style Cascade County Jail showcase his talents. Paris Gibson himself, first mayor of Great Falls, also built a Northside home. Gibson believed that beautiful surroundings molded a diverse population into a contented community. Gibson Park which skirts the district and the double-lined boulevards, resplendently shaded by huge trees planted between 1888 and 1913, are central to Gibson’s legacy. Today the Northside’s residential streets, magnificent churches, and impressive public buildings reflect the economic, social and political flowering of Gibson’s vision.

Contributing properties not pictured--Anaconda Company Manager's House, 315 Fourth Avenue North, Quigley House, and Terril Apartments.

Locations for Tour

A graceful wraparound porch with square posts, a central entry beneath a projecting gable, and transomed windows distinguish this charming vernacular example of the Greek Revival style. Inside, a rounded hall ceiling adds lovely period elegance. The…

By 1910, the Queen Anne style had lost much of its allure. Once admired, its artistic jumble of angles, textures, and colors had become reviled as cluttered and artificial. This rejection of complexity was gradual, and many houses—like this…

Spirited revelry in the streets of Great Falls greeted news of the creation of Cascade County in 1887. Named county seat, Great Falls grew quickly, with county offices located in various downtown buildings. In 1891, voters approved the visionary…

Newcomers flooded into Great Falls in the 1910s as the mining industry boomed and businesses grew. Waiting lists for apartments, hotels, and boarding houses encouraged building on speculation. Joseph Bullock, a retired laborer for the B & M…

Charles E. Davis, “expert watchmaker and jeweler,” arrived in Great Falls with his wife, Grace, in 1900. With Charles’ two brothers, the couple opened a store on bustling Central Avenue, selling jewelry, watches, cut glass, gifts, and…

A grand home on a large corner lot, this Colonial Revival residence bespeaks the prominence of its first owners. Banker, rancher, and state senator William Floweree and his wife, Norma, built this brick two-and-one-half-story home in 1916. Its…

A dramatic living room fireplace, crystal chandelier, and boxed-beam dining room ceiling are among the original fixtures continuing to decorate the interior of the Abe and Carrie Kaufman residence. Neoclassical, Craftsman, and Victorian detailing…

Pictured in 1909 in the Great Falls Tribune under the headline “A Great Falls Residence,” this Queen Anne style house was hardly typical of its day. An imposing two-and-one-half-story structure, the elegant home was built in 1901 for Adkin W. and…

Shortly after Pope Pius X established the Diocese of Great Falls in 1904, Great Falls’ first bishop, Matthias Lenihan, hired Montana architect John Hackett Kent to design a cathedral equal to those in Europe. Kent, who helped design the Montana…

The front canted bay window hints at the modest one-story Queen Anne style residence that lies at the core of this elegant home. In 1891, the house was one of only two on the block. A small back addition had been added by 1900, when Mandeville…

A planned, tree-lined neighborhood away from the town’s industrial activity, the Northside welcomed Great Falls’ business and professional community. Charles Lemley, owner of the Bon Ton Confectionery, chose to build his family home here in 1900.…