NewsMontana News


The story behind a historic Missoula mansion

Posted at 9:19 AM, Oct 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-22 11:19:41-04

MISSOULA – It’s one of those old houses in Missoula that catches your eye and makes you wonder: Who lives there? When was it built? What does it look like inside?

MTN News got the answers to those questions recently and in the process learned even more about a storied mansion in Missoula.

It’s been here about as long as Montana’s been a state and it’s weathered the years beautifully. The Raymond House on Raymond Avenue in Missoula’s historic Rattlesnake district was built around 1896.

It still has original stained glass and woodwork with a curved staircase and a library and wonderful detail, and it’s for sale for about $2 million.

“I think this could serve a variety of different family situations, just because there’s so much space so you could do a multi-family generational situation. There’s a guest house you could have someone live in. There’s just lots of room, said Dawn Maddux with Engel and Volkers Real Estate.

Five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a wine cellar, a mother-in-law apartment and more, all on three beautifully groomed city lots.

Recent upgrades carefully matched the modern with the mature to seamlessly merge the centuries. There’s no doubt people lived and loved in this grand house that captures the imagination of those who wander by.

“It’s brought a lot of interest from people in and out of state that are just very curious about it. We’ve had a couple of wedding planners reach of asking if there was any way they could come here,” Maddux said.

“We’ve had photographers reach out and ask if they could do kids shots here. So it’s a home that I think is kind of iconic for Missoula in its uniqueness,” Maddux said.

In both the real estate literature and in an old newspaper article it mentions this is a catalog home.

Sears had the market on mail order homes but they didn’t start doing that until 1908 after this house was constructed.

After a trip to the Missoula County records department, where a list of all the house’s owners for the past 120 years obtained, a Google search of “old Victorian homes of the late 1800’s” proved helpful.

After pages and pages of images comparing this house to the other pictures, a Queen Anne home in Drain, Oregon called the Drain Castle was found to have the same architecture as the Raymond house.

Using a photo it was discovered the Drain Castle was built by George Franklin Barber, an American architect who marketed his deigns worldwide through a series of mailorder catalogs.

Barber is considered one of the most successful domestic architects of the late Victorian period in the United States.

One of his catalogs called “The Cottage Souvenir #2 was found online. Scrolling through the house plans, design #37 matched the Raymond House.

Also, a list of barber designed homes led to the Brooks hotel in Corvallis, also built using plan #37.

The Raymond Avenue home looks bigger due to additions over the years but the main house remains unchanged. The house is also sometimes called the Pennypacker Mansion.

Barber himself encouraged people to ask for customizes changes to their plans to make their homes perfect.

By Jill Valley – MTN News