Fraternity Hall 2010

replica- 90 percent complete

Fraternity Hall, Elkhorn Montana.

Constructed 1893

After working with ceramics for three consecutive pieces, I wanted to create an all wood replica that would challenge my skills. I was very happy with the refinement I saw in the previous model’s wooden doors. Fraternity Hall’s outstanding architecture reflects the Greek Revival style. Its false front is common to mining camps across the west. The sophisticated neo-classical style balcony above the entry, however, is unique. Elaborate ornamentation at the roofline recalls elements crafted of stone or brick in more urban places, but here adapted to readily available wood. Time has given this elaborate beauty a wonderful wash of  deteriorated paint and weathered wood. Again with the help of Historical American Building Survey diagrams and images, and a site visit in 2009, I  created two replicas. Of course There were many images available too, since Fraternity Hall is probably the most photographed building in Montana. At 5500’ elevation, Elkhorn flourished into the 1890s. At its peak, the community housed more than 2,500 residents and three passenger trains arrived weekly on the Northern Pacific’s branch line. In 1893, the Fraternity Hall Association incorporated to build the town’s architectural and social center. Fraternity Hall was aptly named, since the town’s various fraternal organizations, including the Masons, Oddfellows, and Knights of Pythias, shared its upstairs lodge room. The popular hall was the heart of the community. Here dances, traveling theatrical troupes, graduations, prize fights, and other public gatherings bound citizens together. I wanted to preserve the spirit of this through my art.My replicas sit 95 percent complete. I had planned on matching the current color and pattern of the very weathered remaining paint, however after ageing the first model, I decided to leave the second as is. I liked the deep red of the tight grained heart redwood that I used to create it. I can’t wait to see how the finished pieces look on a gallery’s wall.

from HABS


Additional information

HABS; enter Elkhorn Montana in “search THIS collection

Excellent Elkhorn page

Legends of America 

Elkhorn State Park

Montana Ghost Town Preservation Society

1:30 video of mostly Fraternity Hall





photo by William Carter from the Sunset pictorial "Ghost Towns of the West"


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