A part of Helena's history, while making new history
The Lewis & Clark Brewing building is comprised of several buildings that were added onto over the last 125 years with some dating back to 1885. The oldest building is the Stone “Smokehouse” where the men’s room is located now. The Smokehouse was built by T.C. Power, a legendary founding Helena resident, in 1885 to smoke meats. Shortly thereafter the “Packing & Provisions” building was built behind the current tap room bar and was used as a 3-story “Ice-House” with the ice removed from the lakes in the winter and then transported up the pass-by rail and stored in caves until brought back down in the summer and hoisted up to the third floor to cool the entire building.
After the “Montana Packing & Provisions Company” closed the property this property could have been used as a jail although no historical records support this so maybe the bars were installed for security. It was then a seed warehouse. Later it became the birthplace of Columbia Paint and over 70 years it was added onto as the paint factory grew to be one of Montana’s most successful businesses.
Here at Lewis & Clark, we have tried to preserve as much of the historical nature of this unique place including leaving the old Colombia Paint staircase as we found it splattered with paint as possible while still bringing the buildings into the 20th-century building codes.
*Historical photos are from the collections of W. W. Shropshire and L. H. Larison, courtesy of Tom Stockdale*