The Abel Building by Nancy Watts

The Abel Building was built in 1909 at 507 W. Main by the Abel Brothers, John F. and Wm. M. (Today it is the Never Open Antique Store).

 “John and Wm Abel of the firm of Abel Brothers, butchers, whose shop [Central Meat Market] is located on lower Main Street, last week purchased of M. L. Woodman, a piece of land 30 by 20 feet. The building will contain a handsome front on the Main Street side where the retail butcher shop will be located. The rear portion of the building will be fitted up into a capacious refrigerating plant.” (Fergus County Democrat, April 27, 1909).

“…It is the intention of Abel brothers to be in the position to provide a ready cash market for all of the surplus eggs and poultry raised in this part of the country. At present, ranchers sometimes have difficulty in disposing of these products especially eggs when all of the hens of the hundreds of farm yards are on the job.  The refrigerator will permit Abel’s to take eggs, chickens and turkeys in any quantity and hold them until there is a market or ship them to Butte and Helena where there is always a ready market for such products.” (Fergus County Democrat, April 27, 1909).

“This establishment has been in existence for the past 8 years and as they handle only the very best of fresh cured and salt meats, fish, poultry, oysters and game in season. The Abel Brothers maintain two ranches of large acreage, one of which is occupied for summer range while the other is used entirely for the winter feeding of their stock, in addition to this they have their own slaughterhouse where practically all the beef, hogs and mutton handled are killed and dressed. The refrigerator installed has an unusually large capacity both for ice and meat storage.” (Fergus County Democrat, May 25, 1909).

“Bert Melchert, who has the contract for excavating for the new meat market and cold storage plan…is now at work and will soon have the big hole completed.” (Fergus County Democrat, July 13, 1909).

 “The Street and alley committee and the city attorney were authorized to endeavor to secure an easement through the alley by Abel. Bros. new cold storage warehouse for the purpose of putting in a new sewer. The present sewer is not low enough to drain the basements of such buildings as that now being erected by the Abel Bros” (Fergus County Argus, October 1, 1909).

“William Abel returned Wednesday from the western part of the state where he went for the purpose of purchasing shavings, which are needed in the construction of their cold storage plant here. It will require 60 tons of shavings to complete the job, and Billy was able to secure all he wanted from the big mills in western Montana.” (Fergus County Democrat, August 9, 1910).

“..two-story stone building erected by Abel Brothers…is built of native stone, the front of which is hand dressed. From an outside observation no one would be able to guess anywhere near the actual cost of the building and when you were told that $45,000 would hardly cover the cost, the statement would be considered at least 100% too high. But when you were shown through the building, which is the most up-to-date and modern in the state your opinion would undergo a revision and the above cost price of this building would look reasonable. The building is 30 x 140 feet, two stories high with a full basement. In the basement are two freezing rooms 15 by 20, the temperature of which can be regulated anywhere from zero up on the hottest of summer days.” (Fergus County Democrat, Dec 13, 1910).

“At the back end of the building is the work room, and the cement floor is so arranged that all sides run to a low point in the center of the floor, where direct connection is had with the sewer. At the extreme rear of the building is an ice house, 30×30, with a capacity of 600 tons. The ice is carried up to the freezing plant by machinery and broken up into small pieces. The freezing plant is built along scientific lines it works on the gravity system. Interior work is not yet fully completed but will be in the next 10 days after which the Abel Brothers will set aside a day for public inspection which will be announced later period.” (Fergus County Democrat, December 13, 1910).

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