Red Lodge Brewing Company/Red Lodge Canning Company Historic District

Pure Rock Creek water and a ready market of thirsty coal miners struck Bozeman beer baron Julius Lehrkind as a recipe for success. With nephews Fred and Paul, Julius incorporated the Red Lodge Brewing Company in 1910, hiring the prominent architectural firm of Link and Haire to design the monumental brick brewery as well as the bottling plant next door. Red Lodge contractor Anton Roat constructed both buildings. The brewery design—modified from plans John Link created for the Washoe Brewery in Anaconda—reflected the owners’ prosperity, pride in their product, and European heritage. It also reflected the building’s function. The ornamental tower was an integral part of a gravity flow system that moved huge quantities of liquid through the brewing process without the use of pumps. The owners’ widely advertised decision to use local Fromberg brick and union labor tied the brewery to the Red Lodge patrons it hoped to serve. Prohibition spelled the end of the brewery, but the building received a second life when a Billings capitalist purchased it in 1925. Sturdy construction, an established railroad spur, connection to city water, and room for expansion made the property the perfect site for a factory—and the former brewery was soon converted into a pea cannery. Cannery owners constructed the three-story wood addition in 1927. The cannery, which operated through 1975, was an important part of the Red Lodge economy, seasonally employing up to 300 people in the rush to preserve the highly perishable product.