North Elevation Historic District

Austin and Hattie North established the North Elevation Subdivision in 1905. Within walking distance of McKinley Elementary and Billings downtown, “the Elevation” was a commonsense extension for the Yellowstone River Valley’s fastest-growing city. The Elevation Company, owned by the Norths promoted lots with panoramic views of the city and promises of living near “the best families in Billings.” Early promotional literature emphasized the subdivision’s walkability—including its concrete sidewalks—as well as a potential streetcar system that would link the neighborhood to downtown. By 1913, the neighborhood’s promoters had embraced the automobile, advertising the subdivision’s “fine auto drives” and its miles of “smooth graded roads.” With the construction of the “new” St. Vincent’s Hospital, Deaconess Hospital (now Billings Clinic), and Eastern Montana Normal School (now MSU-Billings) in the 1920s, the neighborhood became home to teachers and doctors, as well as civic leaders. The current North Elevation Historic District is defined by Twelfth Avenue to the north, Ninth Avenue to the south, Thirty-Second Street to the west and the alley behind Thirtieth Street to the east. There are over 100 contributing homes in the district and over 60 of them are in the Craftsman style. These homes are identified by their wide overhanging eaves, projecting rafters, bands of windows, and the use of natural materials. There are also two contributing commercial properties within the district.

907 North 31st Street

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…

917 North 31st Street

Built between 1923 and 1927, this building—now a triplex but originally a duplex—is a relatively late addition to the neighborhood. Several elements distinguish it, including its placement set back from the street. The choice of stucco siding—a…

1009 North 31st Street

Built in 1915, this Craftsman style residence was the longtime home of Ray and Olga Wise. Craftsman homes featured varied, natural materials and subtle detailing, seen here in the narrow clapboard and shingle siding, triangular brackets, exposed…

1023 North 31st Street

Alice Bell lived in this cross-gable residence for over fifty years. She and husband Frank moved here with their two young children in 1914. Narrow clapboard siding, gable-end returns, and multipaned windows give the home an understated elegance.…

1024 North 31st Street

One of only a few Colonial Revival style homes in the historic district, this side-gable, two-story residence dates to circa 1913. Clapboard siding, a centered entry, windows with shutters, and an enclosed side porch are Colonial Revival style…

1029 North 31st Street

Young middle-class professional families flocked to the North Elevation neighborhood after 1905 in search of modern homes in a quiet suburban setting. Rows of welcoming Craftsman bungalows with wide front porches and simple decorative details like…

1102 North 31st Street

Noted Billings architect J. G. Link designed this two-story residence circa 1921. It is one of only four architect-designed homes in the North Elevation Historic District. A classic American Foursquare, or “Prairie Box,” the house features a…

1109 North 31st Street

Built in 1915 at the height of Craftsman style popularity, this two-story home features the style’s characteristic exposed rafter tails and inviting front porch. Less typical is the way the porch extended over the driveway to create a sheltered place…

1110 North 31st Street

A near twin to a home designed by renowned architect Percy Bentley in La Crosse, Wisconsin, this two-story Prairie style residence was built circa 1912 for Louis and Sarah Dousman. The Dousmans had close connections to La Crosse, where Sarah was…

1115 North 31st Street

The prominent brick chimney that dominates the façade of this one-story clapboard home pays homage to the Tudor style. The open front porch, wide overhanging eaves, and exposed roof beams are common Craftsman style features. Frieda Kohn lived here in…

1119 North 31st Street

Simplicity, honesty, functionality, and efficiency were the architectural watchwords of the 1910s. Craftsman style bungalows like this one embodied the era’s minimalist aesthetic, and the style took the nation—and Billings—by storm. Characteristic of…

1123 North 31st Street

The first owner of this one-and-one-half-story home, Matthew Barry, owned the Barry Motor Company, a car garage and “livery”—or rental service. Perhaps that’s why he built a garage (recently replaced) to match the home. Both house and garage had…

1125 North 31st Street

This classic example of an American Foursquare house with Prairie style details was completed by 1916 when photographer Frank Crosby was hired to capture the fashionable new North Elevation subdivision. The term Foursquare describes the house’s…

1131 North 31st Street

Wayne and Ethel Gordon’s 1939 home is one of two Cape Cod style homes in the North Elevation Historic District. The steep side-gable roof, gabled dormers, and elegant front door entablature are key stylistic elements. After completing medical school…

1138 North 31st Street

Valued at $7,000 in 1930, this newly built residence was home to grocer Robert Milligan, his wife Ida Mae, their three children, a fourteen-year-old niece, and a live-in servant. The one-and-one-half story, front-gabled house features Craftsman…

1040 North 31st Street

Dubbed one of Billings’ “pioneer building contractors,” Emanuel Lindstrom waited until age thirty-eight to marry twenty-two-year-old Radina Holen, a fellow immigrant from Norway. In 1913, the Lindstroms moved into this Prairie style residence, where…

1142 North 31st Street

A visit to Los Angeles, California, in 1929 to attend the Elks Club national convention may have inspired Charles and Nora Carroll to build this distinctive Monterey style home in 1930. The style, rarely built in Montana, was popular in Texas and…

1143 North 31st Street

A pedimented entryway and multi-pane transom window are among the Greek Revival style elements that decorate this side-gable brick home, built c. 1932 for Julius and Anna Clavadetscher. A talented cellist, Julius played with the Minneapolis Symphony…

1147 North 31st Street

Rapid changes in technology, industry, and social customs marked the Jazz Age of the 1920s. In the face of short skirts and speakeasies, many Americans longed for a supposedly simpler past. The Tudor style’s story-book charm and emblematic decorative…

Tenth Avenue Grocery

One of two existing storefronts in the North Elevation Historic District, this one-story Western Commercial style grocery store features a stylized stepped parapet and large display windows. Sam Chichas, the Greek proprietor of a grocery on North…

901 North 32nd Street

The Prairie style is well represented in this two-story America Foursquare home built in 1915. A low hipped roof, extended eaves with exposed rafter tails, symmetrical façade, and lap siding emphasize horizonal lines. These architectural features…

1015 North 32nd Street

Not long after Lester and Mabel Punch moved to Billings in 1919, they purchased this house in the growing North Elevation subdivision. Although it now has modern windows and siding, the home’s open porch, tapered porch columns, and decorative braces…

1111 North 32nd Street

Built c. 1916, this one-and-one-half-story bungalow still looks much as it did when card parties and club luncheons filled its owners’ social calendars. As is typical with the Craftsman style, knee braces ornament wide overhanging eaves, and a…

1117 North 32nd Street

One of sixty Craftsman style residences in the North Elevation district, this circa 1916 home features many hallmarks of the style. These include triangular knee braces, exposed rafter tails, and, at the time of construction, a full-width, open front…