Company Town of Bonner, Montana

Western Cultural prepared a formal National Register of Historic Places Nomination for the company town of Bonner, Montana. A total of 44 structures were inventoried including 42 mill worker’s residences, a post office, and the “White House” (mill office building). Site forms with architectural descriptions of each structure were completed. Histories for each mill worker resident that resided in the company houses were performed. The national significance of the Anaconda Company and the owners and managers who worked there was also documented. The project required knowledge of Montana history, knowledge of historical site recordation and evaluations, knowledge of historical site formation processes, a thorough understanding of the Montana Antiquities Act and the requirements of it relative to cultural resource work, knowledge of the standards and guidelines of the Montana SHPO and how to meet those requirements, and knowledge of the Secretary of Interior’s standards and the ability to comply to such standards. The project was started in the summer of 2008 and the nomination was submitted to the MT SHPO on May 1, 2009.

The company town of Bonner, initially constructed by the Big Blackfoot Milling Company and later owned by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company (ACM), is related to several historic themes, which influenced the history of our nation. The people and events that populated Bonner are reflected in Bonner’s story as a company town controlled by one of the largest industrial monopolies in the United States. The Bonner company town, replete with all of the components, played a major role in the ACM’s ability to fend off the Industrial Workers of the World, the radical and activist labor union that troubled timber operations across the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain regions. The people and events of Bonner played a role in the establishment of the US Forest Service and the national forests through early timber sales and lawsuits filed by the Cleveland Administration for illegal timber cutting. The Anaconda Copper Mining Company’s monopoly of the national copper market depended upon the wood products produced by the workingmen of Bonner. The triumphant culmination of World War I and World War II depended upon the products produced by the company town. The American folk style of Bonner’s historic homes is emblematic of the sweep of this architectural style across the nation and the folk style of architecture that spread across the nation as a result of the arrival of the railroad to the sawmill towns of the West. The 2009 Bonner Cultural Resource Inventory required knowledge of Montana history, knowledge of historical site recordation and evaluations, knowledge of historical site formation processes, a thorough understanding of the Montana Antiquities Act and the requirements of it relative to cultural resource work, knowledge of the standards and guidelines of the Montana SHPO and how to meet those requirements, and knowledge of the Secretary of Interior’s standards and the ability to comply to such standards. 


Home | About Us | Projects | Staff | Clients | Resources | Photos | Contact Us

406-829-0301
Building 30, Suite 3, Fort Missoula Road
Missoula, MT 59804

Copyright © 2017 Western Cultural, Inc.