The Diamond Block by Nancy Watts

The Diamond Block at 417-421 W. Main was built in 1907 by Wells and Ellsworth. John Kent was the architect. The building was divided into 3 parts: the left part was occupied by the Sutter Bros Jewelry and the Art Music Store (Emil Saxl); the center was occupied by the Democrat Newspaper and the right side by the Hilger and Busenburg Real Estate office. The building also housed the Diamond Rooming house. (now the Keystone Bookstore and the Western Lounge).

“A judgement was rendered last Tuesday afternoon by Judge Cheadle of the district court whereby J. M. Vrooman and David Hilger were each given clear title to respective portions of lot 12, block lettered F. No.12, in the original townsite of Lewistown. … A short time afterward the Argus purchased 30 feet on Main Street and in 1896 the Argus building was erected [on the corner of Main and 5th Ave. South] thereon. Mr. Hilger and a syndicate of local business men are now constructing the large Diamond Block on the remaining twenty feet and on the adjoining lot.” (Fergus County Democrat, Sept.25, 1906).

“Arrangements have been made with David Hilger and E. O. Busenburg for the lease of their room [to the Empire Bank and Trust Co.] in the Diamond block. At first when no other location offered itself, Tom Stout, proprietor of the Democrat, offered to defer moving into the middle section of the Diamond Block for a few months and let the bank occupy that room but, fortunately for the new institution, Messrs. Hilger and Busenburg decided to let their new office go to the bank. This section of the Diamond Block contains a fine vault and, in addition, the bank will have the use of some fine bank fixtures which Hilger and Busenburg have ordered for their real estate office. Altogether the new bank will have exceptionally nice quarters even pending the erection of their own building which will probably be begun as soon as Spring opens. The present intention of the management is to open the bank for business shortly after the first of March.” (Fergus County Democrat, Jan. 22, 1907).

“Sutter Brothers and Emil Saxl are moving their jewelry and music establishments from the Wright building on lower Main to the new Diamond Block this week, having leased a fine room of M.L. Woodman, one of the owners of the Diamond block.” (Fergus County Democrat, Feb. 5, 1907).

“The fixtures for the new bank arrived Saturday night and will be installed by Wells and Ellsworth this week. When everything is in shape, the Empire Bank and Trust company will have as nice banking quarters in the Hilger & Busenburg section of the Diamond Block as can be found in the state. It is the intention of the directors to open for business not later than April first.” (Fergus County Democrat, Mar. 19, 1907).

“The finishing touches are being put on the Diamond block this week and by the first of April the fine building will be completed.” (Fergus County Democrat, March 19, 1907).

“Democrat in new offices; elegant quarters in Diamond Block occupied by Fergus County’s progressive paper.” (Fergus County Democrat, Mar 26, 1907).

“The front of the Diamond Block is being pointed and the cornice sanded, giving a finished appearance to this handsome structure.” (Fergus County Argus, May 17, 1907).

“…. the Empire Bank and Trust Company has decided to erect a handsome business block at the corner of Main street and 4th Ave, which will be a permanent home for that institution. The bank has since its organization occupied the quarters in the Diamond Block originally fitted up for Hilger and Busenburg and the organization of a new company to take over that firm’s business makes it imperative to move into the Diamond Block at the earliest possible moment.” (Fergus County Argus, March 20th 1908).

“C.E. Shoemaker, has decided to locate in Lewistown, and this week he purchased a one-third interest in the business of Hilger and Busenburg…..the Hilger Loan and Realty company will move into quarters in the Diamond Block now used by the Empire Bank as soon as they are vacated. (Fergus County Argus, Mar. 20, 1908).

H.H Lang building at 413-415 W. Main
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