The Woodman Building by Nancy Watts

The Woodman Building (Serv-Ur-Self Furniture) at 515 W. Main was built in 1916. The architects were Link and Haire.  The first businesses to occupy the building were the Lewistown Grocery and the Democrat News/Fergus County Democrat.

“Martin L. Woodman arrived in Central Montana in 1882 and was engaged in farming for many years. He married Loretta Barnes, a daughter of Mr. & Mrs. J.P. Barnes, and became part owner with Mr. Barnes, J.T. Wunderlin and others in the successful Barnes-King gold mine at Kendall. Mr. Woodman was vice president of the Empire Bank & Trust Co. of Lewistown; President of the Moccasin State Bank; President of the Fergus Co. Hardware Co.; a major shareholder in the Empire Investment Co. and other corporations in the city and county.” (Montana Historical and Architectural Inventory-Sievert).

“The contract has just been awarded by M. L. Woodman to Lee Dysart, a well-known local contractor, for the erection of a new business block in this city, work to begin as quickly as possible and to be rushed to early completion. It will be 50 by 100 feet in ground dimensions and thus provides more space than is required by the printing plants, there being two full floors. The structure will consist of two parts the half toward the post office [521 W. Main] to be occupied by the Lewistown Grocery Company both on the main floor and basement. The structure will be built of Lewistown brick, with Atlas white cement trimmings, and will consist of one story with full basement. The ground floor room toward Abel Brothers [511 W. Main], will be occupied by the Democrat News, the Fergus County Democrat and the job department. ..there will be a large room for the job printing department extending to the rear of the building, a distance of 140 feet from the Main Street entrance making this one of the deepest buildings in the city. Downstairs under the front section of the building will be the duplex newspaper presses, and the Merganthaler linotype machines as well as the composing rooms. Owing to the steady growth of the [newspaper] business a new home is required for the printing in newspaper establishments. At present two separate buildings are occupied resulting in many inconveniences.” (Fergus County Democrat, March 2, 1916).

“Lee Dysart has a force of men ready to start excavation for the new M. L. Woodman building next to the Abel Meat Market. Preliminary work was done Saturday, getting ready for the excavation. Dynamite will be used in the operation as Mr. Dysart does not propose to linger along for the frost to entirely leave the ground.” (Fergus County Democrat, March 9, 1916).

“Contractor Dysart is making rapid progress with the new Woodman building next to the post office and is now having his men pour the cement on the first floor. The building is expected to be completed by July 1.” (Fergus County Democrat May 4, 1916).

“The Lewistown Grocery Company, which has since it was established, been in business in the Wise Block [510-518 W. Main], moved across the street into the new Woodman block, …. The establishment was open for business in the new quarters this morning…The front of the store was especially designed for the display of stock and the arrangement is unique. Messrs. Cherrington, Strickley and Kreiger the enterprising proprietors of this company, are to be congratulated.” Fergus County Democrat, August 31, 1916).

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