F.R. Merk Block

210 W Wallace Street, Virginia City, MT


F. R. Merk Block Virginia City Montana

Photo taken by David Jones in September 2019




"Gold dust was the common currency when George Higgins built this sturdy “fire-proof stone” business block circa 1866. F. R. Merk leased the new building for his mercantile, advertising fancy and staple groceries, liquors, Queensware, woodenware household implements, and a tin shop with “prices to suit the times.” Merk bought the building for $1,800 in 1867, but soon went back to mining. Harrington, Baker & Company sold boots and shoes here during the 1870s, and E. L. Smith located his department store on these premises in the late 1880s. At the start of Prohibition in 1918, this was the Little Club Saloon. Like other such businesses, the club switched to advertising soft drinks until saloons were again legal in 1933. The present Pioneer Bar has served as a popular watering hole and gathering place since 1947. Although its ground-floor window openings were “frontierized” in the 1960s with rough boards and smaller panes, the impressive stone façade of this gold rush era landmark has changed little since the 1860s." - NRHP/Montana Historical Society plaque

Update Log 

  • September 5, 2019: New photos from David Jones
  • August 26, 2019: Added by Richard Doody


  • Richard Doody
  • David Jones