Architectural and Historic Survey for Downtown Billings, 1998-1999

A team of professionals, lead by project director and architect Kim Olsen, completed an architectural and historic survey documenting significant buildings in downtown Billings. Sponsored by the Yellowstone Historic Preservation Board and funded by the City of Billings Tax Increment Program, the survey provides research material for educational programs and serves as an economic development tool for historic preservation efforts in downtown Billings. Two walking tours, developed as part of the survey, will be valuable interpretive activities for students and educators as well as for tourists who visit this region. Nation-wide, preservation and educational efforts reflecting the historic and architectural fabric of a community are primary contributors to downtown revitalization projects.

For the survey, the Western Heritage Center provided administrative and technical assistance to the project team that identified thirty buildings in an area encompassing more than 20 blocks. Chere Justo, historic preservation consultant for the project, researched and documented each of the thirty buildings in detail. Assisting Ms. Justo was Teresa Tillinger, a graduate student intern from Montana State University. The documentation included information gathered about original and later occupants of each building, styles of architecture, and the building’s significance to the development of the City of Billings and the Yellowstone region. Billings’ photographer, Paul Whiting, researched and copied historic photographs and photographed the thirty buildings. Global information system specialist Jere Folgert and consultant Anne Cossitt, worked on producing GIS maps of the survey area, scripts for two walking tours, and the design of an interactive Web page which will feature the architectural and historic research material and walking tours.

picThe original research material is housed in the archives of the Western Heritage Center. For archive hours, contact Kevin Kooistra, Western Heritage Center, at 406-256-6809, ext. 127, or kevin@ywhc.org. The Yellowstone Historic Preservation Board is seeking partners in the downtown to assist with printing walking tour brochures and funding interpretive panels for
the kiosks on Montana Avenue.

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