Sunday, October 13, 2013

614 North Alaska

614 N. Alaska (pink building with parapet at center). Original Mine Headframe in background.

Built: c. 1890

Close proximity to the Original and Stewart mines guaranteed a steady stream of miners to keep the beds of this boardinghouse occupied. Built circa 1890, the two-story bay-fronted flat accommodated at least a dozen lodgers. From 1895 to 1906, Welsh miner John Williams owned the building, and his wife Mary looked after the boarders. In 1910, Michael Sullivan owned the house. While he listed “own income” as his profession, his wife Mary and a servant must have worked long hours keeping their twelve single miners well fed and housed.

The house is an excellent illustration of 1890s boardinghouse architecture and its kinship with the Queen Anne cottage, a popular form of workers’ housing common to urban areas during the 1890s. Arched windows, turned porch posts, a transomed front door, and decorative metal brackets are elements indicative of the Victorian era. Three finials highlight the metal cornice at the roof line and four interior chimneys are evidence of the period heating system, which kept residents comfortable during brutal Montana winters. This building’s address was originally 616 N. Alaska; by 1916 it was 614.

Resource: information modified slightly from historic plaque by Montana Historical Society. Photo by Richard I. Gibson.

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