Nuggets From Helena: Enjoying a True Hidden Gem | Local

For many years I have walked, driven or biked through Helena and enjoyed the wonderful architectural history that we are blessed with in our community. I try to be an observer of such things and like to find details of buildings that I may have overlooked. Things like a decorative weather vane on many turn-of-the-century homes or the thumbprint on the Securities Building.

I have lived on the west side of Helena for many years and have traveled many miles walking its streets in search of new gems. It’s amazing what you can see if you take the time to really understand where you are and open your eyes to the history around us.

Shaw’s Best Factory is significant in Montana history as it was Montana’s first successful food manufacturer and only flour milled from Montana-grown wheat was used in the manufacturing process.

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As I said before, there are many gems that are easy to see. But sometimes there are some really hidden nuggets that sit quietly, calmly, and unnoticed for years to come. At least for the general public.

Imagine my surprise when several months ago I read a story in the Independent Record about a property in Helena that had been nominated for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Even more surprising is the fact that the building is just a few blocks from where I have lived for almost 50 years.

I passed by the structure several times, played with my children in the adjacent park, but didn’t know there was something special about it. The property is not majestic like the State Capitol or awe-inspiring like the Cathedral, but it does have a unique charm and history that has been well preserved over the years by its owners. It is a gem without a doubt!

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