Slayton Mercantile Co.

23 Main St., Lavina, Montana


Slayton Mercantile Lavina MT

Photo taken by David Jones in November 2013




"T.C. Power’s stage line established a stop in 1883 where the town of Lavina was born. In 1907, the Milwaukee Road came through attracting new businesses, among them the Slayton Mercantile Co., established in 1908 by Daniel Webster Slayton. A prominent sheep rancher, county commissioner, and later state senator, Slayton also founded a sheep shearing business and the First Bank of Lavina. The town thrived as an agricultural and economic center, but in June of 1910, Slayton’s wood-frame mercantile burned to the ground. Although the $60,000 business was insured for only one-third its value, Slayton immediately rebuilt a larger, fireproof building. F. W. Handel supplied the exterior brick and the inner layer was fired in a kiln near the Musselshell River. The present two-story mercantile, built in the classic Western commercial style, opened for business in the fall of 1910. Slayton served as postmaster and the store was central to the local community, supplying everything from mail to groceries, school supplies, and horse tack and, after 1916, Ford automobiles, farm implements, and Titan tractors. Slayton, instrumental in the creation of Musselshell County in 1910, was active throughout his life in politics, ranching, and business affairs. He retained interest in the mercantile until his death in 1927. Today the landmark store, still a local gathering place, is a grand example of the Western commercial style of architecture. Its pressed tin ceiling, rolling oak ladders, pot bellied stove and other original features preserve the period ambience of Montana’s homestead era." - NRHP/Montana Historical Society plaque

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 28, 2000
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Western commercial
Areas of significance
Commerce; Community Planning and Development; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; B - Person; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Department store
Current function
Department store
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949; 1950-1974
Significant year

Update Log 

  • February 5, 2020: New photo from Bill Eichelberger
  • July 26, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical information
  • November 22, 2018: New photos from David Jones