Preserve Montana 2018 Update

Restoration & Training

Grace Methodist Church, Virginia City MPA helped the Montana Heritage Commission (MHC) to secure a Save America’s Treasures grant for $200,000 to restore Montana’s oldest Methodist Church. MHC will match this grant with funds from the MT Legislature, and start a full two-year restoration of the church in 2019. The project will also be a platform for trainings on masonry and window restoration.

Hotel Deer Lodge SMA Architects, Helena and MPA are drawing up Preservation and Financial Feasibility options for this threatened historic hotel. Code analysis, cost projections, and building feasibility analysis are complete. Recommendations for redevelopment are coming soon.

7th Ave Gym, Helena The MPA/SMA team is also conducting a feasibility study for Helena’s 7th Ave Gym. The striking Renaissance Revival style gym originally served Central School, but with demolition and reconstruction of a new school in 2018-2019, the Helena School District hopes to find a new owner for the gym. Options and recommendations will soon be available.

Window Restoration, Terry, MT MPA will repair 10 of 26 historic wood windows for the Evelyn Cameron Heritage Center through a grant from the Montana History Foundation. The windows will be restored in Helena this winter through an MPA hands-on training and restoration project. The remaining windows will be repaired later in 2019.

Documentation & Interpretation

Paradise School Under a USDA grant, MPA is creating a business plan for operating and sustaining the stately Paradise School, including architectural analysis for improvements to the building and site.

Bike Route/Heritage Property Study An exciting new project with Adventure Cycling and University of Montana tourism and recreation senior students will gather information on cyclist and building needs in rural areas, and map heritage properties along popular bicycling routes that have potential for reuse. Pairing the needs of cyclists with the hope to repurpose historic buildings is a win-win for small towns.

White Sulphur Springs Inventory Outreach staff completed an architectural inventory of downtown White Sulphur Springs with important grants from the MT History Foundation and the Steele Reese Foundation. Created with help from our friends at the Meagher County Historical Society, the site forms provide a wealth of information on the condition, history, and significance of a many downtown buildings.

Outreach & Education

Historic Barns MPA continues to provide support to Montana PBS to produce a one-hour documentary about the history and preservation of Montana’s historic barns.

Hidden Helena MPA’s first-ever behind-the-scenes self- guided tour of famous, infamous, and unknown downtown Helena buildings was a hit!! Many folks are calling for a round two, and rest assured, it’s in the works. Stay tuned!

2020 Road Show MPA has already started working with contacts in White Sulphur Springs for the next Preservation Road Show. Meagher County is one of Montana’s original counties and is chock-full of heritage places participants will visit during two days of immersive tours and talks. We’ll gather a herd of experts to accompany our adventure to places like Castle, Ringling, downtown White Sulphur Springs, Forest Service cabins, archaeological sites, depots, schoolhouses, and more.