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HISTORY & PREHISTORY

Fairweather Inn

Fairweather Inn

One of the first preemption's of land in Virginia City; this lot was deeded from the Virginia Town Company. Henry Edgar, vice-president, to J. D. Lomax and John Pitilla on September 16, 1863 for $150.00. As soon as the Montana Post began publication, it ran an ad for the "Young American Eating House" next door east of the Montana Billiard Hall. The building was evidently large and sold for $2,500 in 1866. At this time, it was occupied by Rosenbaum & Shoumaker, butchers, and known as "The Metropolitian Meat Market." In 1873 George Gohn and Chris Kibler were partners in the same market. When sold in 1880, the building site included a slaughter house in the northwest part of city and an ice pond one-half mile north.

Fairweather Inn

The building was possibly converted from a meat market to a hotel and saloon in the 1880's. When Frank McKeen bought it in 1896, it was called a "saloon and fittings." McKeen, a colorful personality, was prepared for all eventualities by keeping a casket in the basement. He named his building the "Anaconda Hotel," and operated a dining room as well as a bar. Bob Gohn last managed the Anaconda, before it was sold to Humphrey's Gold Corporation in 1935.

Parlor of Fairweather Inn

Humphrey's, which worked the last dredge to mine Alder Gulch, demolished the small buildings east of the Anaconda Hotel to build a dormitory and offices. The Boveys bought the building from them in 1946.

The Anaconda was an unappealing structure with about a 16-foot ceiling and large, plate glass windows in the front, probably added about 1890. In order to make it more attractive to visitors, Mr. and Mrs. Bovey decided to remodel it copying Montana's first hotel in Bannack. The original hotel in Bannack called "Goodrich House" was in ruins in 1947. It was torn down afterward and the logs used by a local resident to build a chicken house. Mr. Bovey did not move the old hotel to Virginia City but, instead, tried to preserve it in Bannack but was unsuccessful. Seven of the porch posts at the Fairweather Inn, and about a dozen spindles of the railing are from Bannack, however.

In the remodeling, the ceiling was lowered from 16 feet to about 9 and the roof on the west side was raised slightly to form a second floor. The stairway and partitions were also changed. The dormitory built Humphrey's Gold Corporation, east of the hotel, was covered by a "new" old front. The Fairweather Inn is named after Bill Fairweather, discoverer of gold in Alder Gulch.

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

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