For some reasons I decided to do a few then-and-now shots, perhaps because the place isn’t particularly interesting. We’ll see.

The church before:

The church after, with new decorations on the painted wall.


Oooh, a post-war grocery store. Do we have a better shot?

Yes, but alas.

It's hard on a town when the grocery store goes out. Hard.

Putting the urns around the door helps to reduce its off-centeredness, but it’s not enough.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Midwest

Looks like it got a thick coat of stucco; I’d bet there are bricks beneath.


Des Mart: a fine post-war facade, if a bit rote. Nice to see it intact, and well kept; not a trace of rust.


I can hear the Herb Alpert play. I don’t know why. But I do.


Post-war building in the “public service” style, which could include utilities.

Old man Brenner comes out once a month, wild-eyed and smelly

See? The same “public service” style.

OUMBist of the OUMB.

The modern interpretation of the Main Street commercial strip has been, for decades, an almost instant failure.

No one loves this stuff.

The side was done in 60s Flintstone style.

Something interesting: the high school. I’ll bet it was a WPA building. If not, at least it was built during that era. Kids must have felt pretty spiffy: this was as modern as Buck Rogers.

Finally: a bit of the bygone times.

There's more . . . but there isn't, really.



We’ve a two-week look at Missoula, and as usual, I don’t know why I started where I started. But I did, so here we go.

Well, yes:

Wasn’t always so, I’ll bet.


Government buildings of the era never hide their indifference:

At first I though ti was a rehab, but I don't think so. The rhythm of the windows suggests not.

The side. It's realy hard to date.

Looks like they pumped concrete in the window until it filled the whole building:

A piece of an older, more interesting world.

This, I’ll guess, was a failed downtown mall project. Could be a rehab, but it looks as if it has ground-floor parking, and the blank walls are typical for such projects.


A darker breed of Elks up here, it seems.

Was it always an Elks lodge? You’d think there’d be older signage if it was. Googling . . . This site says: “For many years also housing the Missoula Mercantile implement store, it has served the Elks since its construction.”

Odd look for an implement store.

If you’re going to build a parking ramp downtown, this is how you do it. Bright and strange and cheerful.

The site before:

Let’s reacquaint ourselves with this corner . . .

Then turn to the right.

A rehab? Possibly.. The ground floor windows have that awful 60s / 70s slanting-inward framing.

Poof! And a new neighbor.


You may be surprised, but I like it. Every downtown needs buildings from every era, and something from the post-International Style period of Confusion is a relic of an era, a piece of the past embodied and preserved.

Which is the whole point of this feature, now that I think about it. The way architecture carries the past, or what’s left, into the immediate present.

Holy Hannah, these guys could build:

I mean, that’s in their bones, I suppose, although no actual masonry was done by most of the members.

Even the glass remains.


When you want to make a statement of tired acceptance, and disappointment:

The International Style facade is fine. It’s the featureless service core that did these things in.


Seems like an insufficient amount of clock for the space.

But ah hah, what we learn when we turn the corner. That wasn’t a rehab job. That was the original design, right?

Looks as if the upstairs was a fancy place - a meeting room, or a banking hall. More likely the former.