126-134 South Main Street


126-134 South Main Street


When this five-storefront corner business was built between 1918 and 1923 for Montana Leather Company owner MacPherson, it stood on the very fringe of respectability. The “female boarding house” that was then immediately next door on Mercury Street was the first in a series of like establishments literally lining the block. Legitimate businesses occupied these commercial spaces, but turnover was frequent and they were also vacant much of the time. During the 1920s and early 1930s at the height of the neighborhood’s red light activity, tenant businesses included Peter Ike’s fruit store, Theo Foley’s Midway Cigar Store, and the Rainbow Cafe run by Irene Cartulis. The building’s fine design, attributed to architect Herman Kemna, features a stepped parapet on the Main Street façade and gray stone trim against tan brick. It must have appeared strikingly modern compared to its older and infamous Mercury Street neighbors. The building remained in the MacPherson family until the early 1990s.


The Montana National Register Sign Program


commercial buildings
building | contributing


Butte National Historic Landmark District

Street Address

126-134 South Main Street, Butte, Montana


Silver Bow county