From the Library Archives: The Lewistown Auto garage by Nancy Watts

The Lewistown Auto garage (it was the “Grease Spot” garage in 1926 and is now Montana Paint and Glass) was built in 1910 on the corner of Janeaux and Third Ave South (121 3rd Ave South). The original owner was the Bank of Fergus County.

“As Lewistown and Fergus County showed phenomenal growth during the early years of the 20th century so grew the automobile business. H.C. Brown J. E. Lane, A. W. Warr and H. Yaeger filed articles of incorporation for Lewistown Auto company in September of 1908. In 1910 the company moved to its new building on the corner of 3rd Ave on Janeaux St. Manager Frank E. Doran who kept a close record of the automobile industry stated there were 275 cars in Fergus County in 1911 and of that number 143 were owned in Lewistown. Lewistown auto company was the agency for Franklin cars and at that time 55 Franklin’s were in active use in Fergus County.” (Montana Historical and Architectural Survey-Sievert).

 “The new garage of the Lewistown Auto Company, in the rear of the Bank of Fergus County, is now nearing completion, and is attracting a lot of attention. It is perhaps the largest garage in the state erected solely for that purpose. It is 56 by 100 feet built of pressed stone and brick, with cement floors, and is equipped with a washroom 16 x 16. The nature of the construction reduces the fire hazard to a minimum. This company was started originally merely to provide those interested in it with storage room for their own autos, but it soon outgrew this plan, and the new garage will have room for storing fifty cars.” (“Fergus County Argus,” August 26, 1910).

Not very many people knew how to drive at this time so some people depended on chauffeurs to drive them around. “Lewistown can claim some of the most expert chauffeurs in the state…Among the local men who have become regular chauffeurs are Don Anderson, who is considered one of the best. The “Monk” is a favorite with the men who have to take long trips into the country…There are five women drivers in Lewistown and they are all good ones. Mrs. Harry Yaeger is considered by the auto men to be the most expert of any of them. She can handle a big car with the best of them and has the reputation of being level-headed and resourceful in any kind of pinch…. Among the owners who drive, Harry Yaeger is conceded to be the big chief.” (“Fergus County Argus,” August 26, 1910).

“1926, following years of depression, drought and grasshoppers, found the property, which was owned by the Bank of Fergus County, taken over by the city of Lewistown, in lieu of the deposits the city had in the failing bank. Charles Young and Elmer Olson proprietors of the “Grease Spot” rented the building from the city in 1932 and when it came up for sale, purchased the property in 1936. They cut out the corner of the structure creating a diagonal drive in, with gas pumps underneath the newly formed canopy. The corner was enclosed again for the next occupant for use as a showroom.” (Montana Historical and Architectural Survey-Sievert).

 “……the Lewistown Auto company office building and garage on Third Avenue, [cost] $15,000” (“Fergus County Argus,” December 16, 1910).

Historical note: In 1908 the Lewistown Auto Co. constructed a garage at 116 5th Ave North.  That building was replaced in 1949 and is now Courtesy Motors.  Before the “Grease Spot” moved to 3rd Ave. South it was located on 5th Ave South where the Dark Horse Livery Stable was (now the parking lot for Courtesy Motors).

The Lewistown Auto built this building (121 3rd Ave. South)
in 1910 to sell and to store cars for people.
In 1936 Charles Young and Elmer Olson proprietors of the “Grease Spot” bought
the building and cut out the corner for gas pumps. It is now Montana Paint and Glass.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. (Clicking "Accept" will remove this message for one year.) Read More

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below, then you are consenting to this practice.