This stately building is significant for its architecture and association with its builder, William Roberts, who was one of the city's leading builders during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Roberts constructed a number of commercial and residential buildings in the city including this one, which is considered his best work. In terms of architecture, the Roberts Building is a fine example of Classical Revival architecture. Its most prominent feature is its elaborate cornice with decorative paired supports. Various businesses occupy the first floor and apartments are located on the upper floors.
Backstory and Context
William Roberts was a well-experienced carpenter and contractor when he arrived in Great Falls in 1886. He had previously worked in California and Butte, Montana before moving here. During the next few decades Roberts built a number of prominent structures including commercial block buildings and the opera house (which was later demolished). The Roberts Building initially operated as a hotel called the Elmore Hotel, offering 99 guest rooms when it opened in 1917. Amenities included gas and electricity, steam heating, private telephone hookups, and porter and maid service. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Today it appears that the upper floor are offered as public housing.
"The Central Business Historic District - A Walking Tour." Great Falls/Cascade County Historic Preservation Office. 2004. https://visitgreatfallsmontana.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Central-Business-Historic-District-Walking-Tour-1.pdf.
McDonald, James R. "Roberts Building." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. September 12, 1985. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/85002165_text.
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