Wilbur Cook House

Title

Wilbur Cook House

Description

“The music of the carpenter’s hammer is heard in all parts of the city,” reported the Stevensville Register in March 1910. “A sure indication that spring is here.” Construction of the Wilbur Cook house may have contributed to that spring music. Cook, who owned the property from 1909 until 1950, worked at a variety of jobs, including as a bartender at the Stevensville Hotel, a farmer, and the co-owner of a drayage (hauling) business. In 1920, he lived here with his wife, Mattie, and their three-year-old daughter, Helen. The Cook residence, with its exposed rafter tales, wide eaves, and large front porch, is one of three Craftsman style homes constructed circa 1910 on what was originally the John Catlin ranch. A Civil War veteran and early settler, Catlin led local volunteers in the Battle of the Big Hole against the Nez Perces in 1877. Sometime after 1903 he sold part of his ranch to James M. Higgins, an area farmer likely caught up in the rampant land speculation fueled by the Bitterroot apple boom. In 1909, Chicago entrepreneurs were excavating what was called the “Big Ditch” to irrigate ten- to twenty-acre orchard tracts throughout the valley, and a Missoula newspaper predicted that Stevensville would become headquarters to over ten thousand people. Cook, who bought this nine-acre property from Higgins, did not seem unduly affected by the short-lived boom. Born to area pioneers in 1884, he remained in this modest, but stylish home long after most apple speculators had left the valley.

Creator

The Montana National Register Sign Program

Type

residential structures
building

Latitude and Longitude

46.494248,-114.100657

Street Address

3717 Eastside Highway, Stevensville, Montana

County

Ravalli county