Porter Flats Apartments

335 N. Ewing St., Helena, Montana


Porter Flats Apartments Helena MT

Photo taken by David Jones in June 2019




"The Northern Pacific finally extended its tracks to Helena in 1883, and the town became increasingly cosmopolitan. Pioneer real estate developer James Porter constructed this very stylish apartment building in 1884, the first of many multifamily dwellings built to accommodate a rapidly growing population. The building demonstrates the construction techniques used and the high quality achieved in the bustling, booming Helena of the 1880s. Twin bays, a central entry, wide eaves, and hipped rooflines reflect the Italianate style while a well-crafted stone foundation, red brick veneer, and tall arched windows mirror local contemporary commercial construction. Fancy floral-designed vergeboards that originally adorned the gables, ornately carved window heads, and decorative brackets reflect the growing availability of prefabricated building materials. The well-appointed building allowed fashionable yet affordable living, with each of the six units boasting a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, and dining room. Interior elegance remains today in the decorative newel post, balusters, and carved trim with corner rosettes. First tenants included a doctor, a lawyer, a minister, a mining superintendent, and the five Misses Nagel, whose “private dining room … in Porter’s Flat” was one of Helena’s favorite eating establishments. Severely damaged during the 1935 earthquakes and condemned in 1988, Porter Flats was rehabilitated between 1989 and 1991 by its new owner. Today this neighborhood treasure is an integral thread in the historic fabric of early Helena." - NRHP/Montana Historical Society plaque

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 14, 1993
Reference number
Architectural style
Victorian: Italianate
Areas of significance
Exploration/Settlement; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Multiple dwelling
Current function
Multiple dwelling
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1925-1949
Significant year
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2
Non-contributing buildings: 1


19th Century (37,649)
Brick (42,462)
Built 1884 (481)
Built during 1880s (6,453)
Helena, Montana (51)
Italianate (5,099)
Lewis and Clark County, Montana (122)
Montana (2,186)
Muth & Cox Porter (1)
Private owner (54,396)
Residential building (1,585)
Stone (26,160)
Victorian (19,697)

Update Log 

  • August 5, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical information
  • June 22, 2019: New photos from David Jones