You could call it a “million-dollar view,” but that would be significantly undervaluing it.
How many Uptown buildings offer a spectacular view on three sides? A full view of the East Ridge, panning around to Timber Butte, the Highlands and the entire cityscape? A view that shows the Mountain Con headframe, Our Lady of the Rockies, seven church steeples, the old City Hall tower, and dozens of other points of interest? A view that lets you watch as the west wind blows a snow flurry across the town?
That’s what you get from the top floor of 321 W. Galena St. And the view inside is pretty special as well.
The four-story building’s dimensions — it’s about 40 feet wide and more than 100 feet long — and its relative openness on West Galena mean you get light flooding into its enormous windows on three sides, making the spacious interiors glow.
“Spacious,” too, may be faint praise. Each floor offers more than 4,000 square feet of space, and it’s both wide-open and incredibly well-appointed, with maple floors, deluxe original fixtures, and untold board feet of original oak trim.
Ceilings soar to 15 feet on the upper floors, with huge old-style transoms above even larger main windows. Some of the windows are more than 10 feet in length.
Because the brick building dates from 1904, it is incredibly sturdy – and just about everywhere you look is a pleasing sightline.
“We just don’t see buildings like this that are so intact,” says listing agent Sheri Broudy of Coldwell Banker Markovich Real Estate. “It’s truly special, and it has a great history.”
That it is, and that it does.
Originally built to house the “manual arts” department at Butte High School, the building lost its purpose when the high school moved in 1938. (The main old high school building burned to the ground in 1946.) During World War II 321 W. Galena served as a military induction center, and later would house the Butte Business College. Then, for years, the nearby Masonic Temple used it for its youth programs, DeMolay and Rainbow Girls.
Beverly Crowley has owned the building for 17 years. Her Montana Coat Company is there, and in recent years the law firm of Joyce & MacDonald was housed there, until its recent move to the Finlen Hotel building.
Because of the building’s original construction as a school facility, the stairways are immense, more than eight feet wide. Everywhere, the light streams in — more and more as you go to the upper floors.
The top floor, which has been used as a residence, can be an absolute showplace. The windows, the views they provide, the open space and the great original condition come together on this floor to create magic. Three large bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen — and an absolutely enormous loft-like open space — produce gasps from just about everyone who walks up the stairs. A raised area all along the south windows would be the instant focus for entertaining and also an endless source of inspiration as a sitting room, even a home office.
For a developer of commercial and residential space, this building offers ultimate flexibility and a million options. The entire building could easily be converted to residential use. Or a business-residential mix could work too. There’s a full basement — clean, dry, cavernous space for storage of absolutely anything — and each floor has its own heating system, kitchen and baths, making multiple use even easier. A couple of the gas forced-air systems are quite new, much of the electric is updated, and in general the building’s operating systems are in great condition.
"It would make incredible condominiums," owner Crowley said. "I just didn't have the energy to do it."
Bring ideas and energy, and 321 W. Galena will reward you with great location, unique architecture and endlessly pleasing surroundings.