The Crowley Block by Nancy Watts

The Crowley Block at 311 W. Main was built in 1913.

Daniel M. Crowley came to Lewistown early in the 1880s and established the Lewistown Livery Stable and also Crowley and Kemp’s Saloon next to the stable. “Crowley and Kemp have begun the erection of a first-class stable convenient of their saloon.” (Mineral Argus, Oct 9, 1884)

Daniel died in 1906 and his wife, Annie Crowley, later built the Crowley Building in place of the Lewistown Livery Stable.

“….Mrs. Crowley, who owns the Main Street property has rented it to the Judith Hardware Company who will use it temporarily for a warehouse. It is Mrs. Crowley’s intention to raise the old building in the near future and erect in its place a modern fireproof structure. The ground on which the old barn is located is counted about the most valuable in the city and a big business block there would command a large rental.” (Fergus County Democrat, February 6, 1912).

“Mrs. Anna Crowley will begin early in the spring on the erection of a $50,000 business block on Main Street between Third and Fourth Avenues.” (Fergus County Democrat, Dec 17, 1912).

“The contracts for the handsome three-story block to be erected by Mrs. Annie Crowley on the site of the old Crowley Livery barn on Main Street between Third and Fourth Avenue were let last week by the architects Wasmansdorff and Eastman. The building will have a frontage on Main Street of 80 feet by 90 feet deep and will be constructed of Lewistown pressed brick. The total cost of the building will be about $50,000. The contract for the general work went to W. F. Hogan, whose bid was $38,730. The heating contract went to John Sullivan while Ed Bisbee was awarded the plumbing contract, the A.B.C. Paint company the painting contract and the Crescent Electric Company, W.W. Watson, the electric wiring contract” (Fergus County Democrat, January 21, 1913).

“The site for the new Crowley block is now cleared and ready for excavating. The whole ground floor of this building is under lease to Sweitzer, who will establish a model store carrying out his departments as soon as the structure is finished.” (Fergus County Democrat, February 25, 1913)

“The concrete foundation for the Crowley block is now going in. It will be necessary to keep the pump going until the concrete work is finished but once this is disposed of the walls will fairly climb.” (Fergus County Democrat, April 22, 1913)

“Contractor James M. Smith yesterday began laying brick on the Crowley block and the Warr and Lane buildings on Main Street.” (Fergus County Democrat, May 27, 1913)

“The front of the Crowley block will be finished so far as the brick work is concerned this week.” (Fergus County Democrat, July 8, 1913).

“Crowley block, having a frontage of 80 feet on Main Street by 80 feet deep. Cost complete, about $60,000… W. F. Hagan, Lewistown contractor.  This is a strictly modern store and office building, the ground floor being occupied by Sweitzer’s, the second by offices, while the third is designated for lodge purposes and balls. The front is beautifully designed and is imposing. The first floor store is provided with three entrances in this whole front is of glass. The revolving ventilators in the front are just one of the many features of this building. It is provided with a full, deep basement. So admirable are the general arrangements that practically all the rooms in the building were spoken for before it was completed.” (Fergus County Democrat, December 16, 1913).

Pictured left:  Daniel Crowley’s Lewistown Livery Stable is the barn on the right side in the middle of the 300 block of Main Street. Notice the tight-rope walker’s rope attached to the Crowley Stable and across the street. The Lewistown band is in the middle of the street.  Circa 1888.

Pictured right:  The Crowley Building has the Sweitzer’s sign painted on the side. The building replaced the Crowley Stable in 1913.

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