Montanakids.com | Official Montana Website
HISTORY & PREHISTORY

Buford Store

Buford Store Property of the Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives. Material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code).

E.J. Walter, a clothing merchant, built the first brick building in Virginia City during the summer of 1875 on the site of his frame "Overland Clothing Store" directly east of the Wells Fargo Office. It may be the oldest standing brick building in the state. Many brick structures built in 1876 are still in existence, including the Madison County Courthouse, the Virginia City School, the Bannack Courthouse, several Fort Benton buildings and Fort Assinniboine. However, this pre-dates them all by one year.

E.J. Walter used the store just three years. In 1878 he sold out to S.R. Buford, who had been in Virginia City several years as a freighter prior to entering the grocery business. Buford, a partner of Henry Elling, had a rare talent for the business and soon owned the largest store in the area. Beside his retail store, he soon expanded into hardware, heavy steel, agricultural implements, wagons, and mining supplies. In 1886 he built the matching west section of his store, and in 1899 tore down the old Wells Fargo Office between the two parts, roofing between his two buildings to provide the most modern in grocery departments. The original store then became the hardware department.

When the Boveys acquired the building in 1947, a gift shop was placed in the east section. A few years later, when other gift shops were opened up the street, it was no longer necessary for the Boveys to have a gift shop in connection with the restoration. Instead, the original S.R. Buford grocery store was reconstructed in 1975, using Buford's original fixtures and even some of his stock. The labels on the canned goods are those Buford received in the mail and carefully filed away.

Special acknowledgements to: John D. Ellingsen, John N. DeHaas, Tony Dalich, and Ken Sievert, Tom Cook and Ellen Baumler of the Montana Historical Society.

<< Go Back A Page

Thanks for visiting the Montana Kids' Site! We hope you've found the information both educational and entertaining. If you have comments or suggestions on ways we can improve the site please send us email at montanakids@visitmt.com.

You can also help your family plan a trip to Montana. Have your folks request a statewide travel packet by sending their mailing address to travelinfo@visitmt.com.


All contents © 2007, Travel Montana. All rights reserved. Please visit us again at http://montanakids.com
 
Parents try visitmt.com mt.gov COOL MONTANA STORIES HISTORY & PREHISTORY PLANTS & ANIMALS THINGS TO SEE & DO ACTIVITIES & GAMES FACTS & FIGURES AGRICULTURE & BUSINESS KIDS HOME