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Byron Vreeland: The Man Who Was Never Recorded…by Jackson

Photo of the Bozeman Opera House sign that Bryon Vreeland built from The Bozeman Historic Society

Photo of the Bozeman Opera House sign that Bryon Vreeland built from The Bozeman Historic Society

Byron Vreeland was an architect practicing in Montana in the late 1800’s.  His most important contribution to Bozeman was designing the Bozeman City Hall and Opera House in 1887.

Mr. Vreeland had already established a reputation as an outstanding architect because of the amazing buildings that he designed in Miles City, Lewiston, and Billings when he was hired to design the Bozeman City Hall and Opera House.  In fact, the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, which he designed and built in 1886, is his most historically important building that survives in Montana today.

The Bozeman City Hall and Opera House, a brick and stone building at the corner of Main Street and Rouse, where the Soroptomist Park is today, served for 75 years as the city administration building.  In addition to the city offices, jail cells and janitor’s quarters, it housed the city fire department, with a fireman’s dormitory.  After years of not maintaining the building, and additional damage from an earthquake, the city tore down the building in the 1960’s effort to save money and make the appearance of downtown Bozeman more modern.

The building had the first library that both males and females could go to at the same time.  The second floor of the building was home to the Opera House.  After the Bozeman Hotel was built in 1891, on one fantastical night, they built a footbridge from the second story of the hotel to the Opera House, to get to the Opera House without having to walk through the mud streets.

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