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Fred Fielding Willson…by Owen

Old photo of building designed by Fred Willson from Wikipedia

Old photo of building designed by Fred Willson from Wikipedia

Fred Fielding Willson was born to American Civil War General Lester S. Willson and Emma Weeks Willson on November 11, 1877 and died on August 13, 1956.  He was an important figure in Bozeman history as he designed many buildings including the Ellen Theatre, the Baxter Hotel, the Emerson school, and the Willson School.  He attended Bozeman public schools and the Bozeman Academy before studying at Montana State University and later receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture at Columbia University.  Willson then worked for two years under architect C. S. Haire before starting his extended tour of Europe where he studied in the Ecole des Beaux-arts in Paris.  When he returned to New York in 1906 he began working for Visscher & Burley. Later that year he moved to Butte and took over the offices of Link & Haire.  After working for them for four years, he returned to Bozeman as an independent architect until 1928.  From 1928 through 1932 he worked in the Shanley, Willson &  Hugin partnership.  From 1932 until his death in 1956 he once again worked as an independent architect.

Willson was an important figure in the community and was on the city council and the city commission.  He was also on the Montana State Board of Architectural Examiners for licensing, and was a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.  Will married Helen Fisher on October 15, 1913 and had three children, Lester, Virginia and Beverly.  In conclusion, Fred Willson was an important architect and a favorite figure in the community.

List of his buildings:

(NRHP listed works)

  • Barrett Hospital, Chapman and S. Atlantic Streets, Dillon, Montana
  • Jack Bartlett House, 8 W. Harrison, Bozeman, Montana
  • Belgrade City Hall and Jail, Broadway at Northern Pacific Blvd., Belgrade, Montana (1912)
  • Blackmore Apartments, 120 S. Black St., Bozeman, Montana
  • Bozeman Armory, 24 W. Mendenhall, Bozeman, Montan
  • Coca-Cola bottling plant that is part of the Bozeman Brewery Historic District, 700 – 800 North Wallace St., Bozeman, Montana
  • Bozeman Sheet Metal Works, 26 S. Grand, Bozeman, Montana
  • Bozeman YMCA, 6 W. Babcock, Bozeman, Montana
  • Club Moderne, 811 E. Park, Anaconda, Montana  (1937)
  • Dokken-Nelson Funeral Home, 113 S. Willson, Bozeman, MT
  • Eagle’s Store, 3 Canyon Street., West Yellowstone, MT
  • Emerson School, 111 S. Grand Ave., Bozeman, MT
  • First Baptist Church, 120 S. Grand., Bozeman, Mt
  • Gallatin County Courthouse, 301 W. Main, Bozeman, MT
  • Gallatin County High School, 404 W. Main, Bozeman, MT
  • Gallatin County Jail, 317 W. Main St., Bozeman, MT
  • Graf Building, 219 W. Arthur, Bozeman, MT
  • Hamill Apartments, 427 E. Main, Bozeman, MT
  • Hotel Baxter, 105 W. Main St., Bozeman, MT
  • One or more works in Main Street Historic District, 100 block, W. Main to 300 block E. Main, Bozeman, MT
  • One or more works in Northern Pacific – Story Mill Historic District, roughly bounded by the Northern Pacific Railroad fight-of-way and the Story Mill spur line from Wye to Bridger Canyon Rd., Bozeman, MT
  • Sacajawea Hotel, Three Forks, Montana
  • One or more works in South Tracy – South Black Historic District, 200 -600 blocks of S. Tracy & S. Black Aves., Bozeman, MT
  • One or more works in South Willson Historic District, Willson Ave. between Curtiss and Arthur Streets, Bozeman, Montana
  • Story Motor Company, 202 W. Main, Bozeman, Montana


Other notable works

Lehrkind Breweryh Building, Bozeman, Montana


-Fred F. Willson, Wikipedia

-Montana state government Death certificate.

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