Weaver Block by Nancy Watts

The Weaver Block was built in 1916 at 314 W. Main. (now empty, formerly The Leader store and in later years The 3 B’s Store).

James A. and Samuel C. Weaver of Lewistown and Edward M. Weaver of Kendall, were the sons of James B. Weaver. Samuel was born in 1873 and died in 1919. James was born in 1868. The Weaver Bros (Samuel C. and James A.) owned the Big Bear Buffet (prior to 1916) which was torn down and replaced by them.

“Weaver brothers last week closed the deal for the purchase of the Matt Gunron property, consisting of a lot 25 by 90 feet containing a two story building on Main Street. The building is occupied by the Big Bear Saloon. The price paid was $8000. It is considered a good deal for the purchasers as the property is held as some of the most valuable in the city.” (Fergus County Democrat, August 30, 1904).

“Plans are now being prepared for a two story modern business block to be erected shortly replacing the present Big Bear building. Weaver Bros., owners of the building and lot, will construct the new building. It will be 30 by 90 feet in size extending from Main Street to the alley. The ground floor will be occupied by their buffet while the second floor will be cut up into rooms. There will be also a full basement. The building will be modern and substantially built representing an investment around $15,000.” (December 24, 1915 Democrat News).

“Bids were opened yesterday at the offices of Wasmansdorff and Eastman for the erection of the Weaver block on the site of the Big Bear building. The contract was awarded to Fowlis and Coulter, the low bidders [$9,604]. This is a well-known local firm which has done extensive and satisfactory building here. The work will start immediately on the tearing down of the old Big Bear building and then the new structure will be rushed to completion as rapidly as possible.” (Fergus County Democrat March 2, 1916).

“The new two-story brick home of the “Big Bear Buffet” saloon and dairy lunch also had a second floor rooming house. When A. D. Johnson, proprietor of the new rooming house, applied for a license, City Council chambers filled with women crying their protests against granting the license. Church groups, the W.C.T.U. and the public morals committee (which regularly investigated rooming house activities) caused many stormy City Council sessions. It was pointed out that the entrance to the Big Bear rooming house would be between two saloons. In 1916 the city hired a woman to meet the trains and direct females to proper rooming houses.”  (Montana Historical and Architectural Inventory-Sievert 1984).

“Weaver Bros. building, Main Street, costing $15,000 is a handsome new brick structure which replaces the old Big Bear building. It is equipped with dairy lunch and buffet apartments on the ground floor and a rooming house upstairs. Each room is given daylight and ventilation. The building is steam heated and modern and every respect.” (Fergus County Democrat December 17, 1916).  

“Bill Munger, the local well known restaurant man, will this evening open a popular-priced creamery lunch which he has characterized as ‘the place for a man in a hurry’ in the new Weaver building next to the Bon Ton confectionery.” (Fergus County Democrat, December 17, 1916).

 Weaver Building with Bear sign at 314 W. Main next to the Bon Ton. Date is circa 1905.

 Weaver building at 314 W. Main
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