907 North 31st Street

North Elevation Historic District

Contractor Thomas O’Neil, who lived nearby on North Thirtieth, likely built this handsome American Foursquare home as well as the smaller rental property at the back of the lot. Notable for their efficient use of space, dignified Foursquares made the most of every buildable inch, providing the most house for the lowest cost. As the name implies, Foursquare houses are roughly square in plan with four rooms on each floor arranged around a central hall. Elmer and Gertrude Veltum moved into the home by 1908 shortly after they arrived in Billings. Sadly, Elmer did not get to enjoy the home for long. A joint freight agent for the Northern Pacific and Burlington Northern, Elmer died of typhus in 1910 at age forty-eight. Gertrude died six years later, but son Thayne, who worked as an assistant baggage agent, and his wife Mabel remained in residence. After Thayne died in 1959, Mabel added a small attached garage and temporarily converted the residence into two apartments. She remained at home until 1986, two years before her death at age one hundred.

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907 North 31st Street, Billings, Montana ~ private