Vernacular Architecture Forum

Mining Metropolis: An Island in a Stockman's Paradise
Under Montana's Big Sky
June 10-13, 2009

  Today is

Cornice of Dumas Brothel

Post-conference tour in Helena: Sunday June 14

Note that this tour is separate from the VAF conference - registration is separate, with information on how to do that below.

(Courtesy Montana Historical Society Research Center)
The VAF annual meeting in Butte, June 10-13, will be followed by an all day tour Sunday, June 14th, of Helena, Montana's capital and financial center, born in a placer mining gold rush in 1864. By the time Helena was selected as the state's political center in 1894, Helena had developed an eclectic assortment of brick, stone, and wooden vernacular and architect-designed architecture.

The all day tour leaves Butte at 8 a.m. and returns to Butte at 9 p.m. after dinner at Helena's historic Montana Club, designed by Cass Gilbert in 1904. Participants will see examples of Helena's earliest commercial and residential architecture in Reeder's Alley and up Last Chance Gulch/West Park; Helena's later commercial district along the Gulch;

(Reeder's Alley, Courtesy Montana Heritage Commission)
Swiss-influenced agricultural buildings at the Green Meadow Ranch, designed by Robert Reamer; the Child Ranch east of Helena; the West Side neighborhood comprised of vernacular and architect-designed residences; the Sixth Ward, a working class neighborhood adjacent to the Northern Pacific depot and railyards; and the Archie Bray Foundation, a world class ceramics center formerly the Kessler Brickyard/Western Clay Manufacturing Company.

(Heitman House by Purcell Elmslie, Courtesy Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota)
Tour leaders include Kingston Heath (Historic Preservation Program Director, University of Oregon), Ellen Baumler (Historian and Interpretive Sign Manager, Montana Historical Society), Patty Dean (Curator of History, Montana Historical Society), Fredric Quivik (Industrial Historian and adjunct faculty at University of Pennsylvania), & Brian Shovers (Library Manager, Montana Historical Society).

The $70 fee includes transportation, lunch, dinner, and informational packet. Co-sponsored by Montana Chapter of Society for Industrial Archaeology. If interested, please mail your check to Brian Shovers, 210 S. California, Helena, MT, 59601. For information call Shovers at 406-444-7415 (days) or 406-443-6640 (evenings) or email Please make your check out to Klepetko SIA. Deadline for registration, May 5, 2009. Limited to 45 people.

(Kluge House, photo courtesy of P. Dean)

(Madison Avenue, Helena, Courtesy Montana Historical Society Research Center)

(Seligman House by Cass Gilbert, Courtesy Montana Historical Society Research Center)