Threatened Properties Update

Teslow Grain Elevator, Livingston

The wind in Livingston died down just long enough for construction crews to drop a new crown on Livingston's beautiful Teslow Grain Elevator. According to Teslow Preservation Group officer, Audrey Hall, lowering the prefabricated roof onto the structure, "all went off without a hitch and we had a fair number of onlookers including a local physics class! OSM’s safety officer and weather good luck charm, Noah Davis, was on site, so the blizzard that was raging all morning calmed down enough for all systems to go. Of course, as soon as Noah left the site, the bitter and famous wind picked right back up!" 

In the coming weeks, OSM will be fixing the shoulder roofs and installing new windows. Also, a few structural repairs will be addressed on the north facing elevation. Once the major repairs are completed, the next phase of the project will probably be pigeon and poop removal, and planning for the building’s future, feasibility, and sustainability.

The Guardian of the Gulch, Helena’s Fire Tower
The City of Helena shocked many in the community on February 1 with plans to demolish and rebuild Helena’s iconic Fire Tower. The Fire Tower was damaged in an arson attempt in 2016 and further analysis found more than just the fire damaged timbers. With input from a restoration specialist and structural engineer MPA is advising the City to replace only the deteriorated timbers and to upgrade other structural connections, rather than building a new tower to match the original. Doing so will diminish its historic significance and impact the integrity of the Helena Historic District. As it stands now, the City will apply for a demolition permit from the City’s preservation commission and ask for approval by the Helena City Commission. No date has been set for a hearing. 

Missoula Mercantile
After a valiant and sustained effort by preservationists to rescue the Missoula Mercantile, a Missoula District Court Judge upheld the Missoula City Commission decision in favor of demolition. Preserve Historic Missoula and MPA gave it our best, appealing to the developer multiple times to work with the preservation community and come out with an inspiring project that would have saved the Mercantile and allowed for a new hotel. 

While a portion of the old pharmacy will be saved, the overall design will destroy Missoula’s most significant historic commercial building and have a negative impact on the integrity of the surrounding historic district. As communities across Montana grapple with conflicts between development and historic buildings, it’s clear that stronger local preservation policies are needed to pave the way for both history and a vibrant economy.