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110-year-old Bill Roberts Golf Course clubhouse building comes down
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110-year-old Bill Roberts Golf Course clubhouse building comes down

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Clubhouse demolition

A crew from Freedom Fabrication and Excavation demolishes the old Bill Roberts Golf Course clubhouse last week.

A 110-year-old Helena building with a storied history was laid to rest this week as a crew demolished the old Bill Roberts Golf Course clubhouse.

The building had a life like a three-act play.

In the first act, the building built in 1911 housed the domestic science department of the first Helena High School. It stood about 140 feet north of the still standing Seventh Avenue Gym, according to Kennon Baird, curator of Helena As She Was, an online database of Helena history at helenahistory.org.

Clubhouse in 1925

In this photo from 1925, girls in Roma dresses pose in front of the building while it still housed the domestic science program at the original Helena High School.

For the second act, the building took on the role of school district headquarters in 1935, when Helena High School relocated to Rodney Street, where Helena Middle School stands today.

And for its final act, the building was purchased by the City of Helena in 1983 and relocated to Bill Roberts Golf Course, where it was used as a clubhouse until 2018, when the city upgraded to a new $2.3 million clubhouse. 

An IR news clipping for Sept. 16, 1983

An IR news clipping from Sept. 16, 1983, reporting on the operation to move the building from downtown to the golf course.

The city tried to find a new home for the building in early 2019, according to golf course Superintendent Larry Kurokawa. After discussions among the board of the golf course, it was determined the building wasn’t suited for storage and would require costly updates to keep it functioning.

So the city solicited bids in the Independent Record seeking a buyer. A couple of people showed interest, said Kurakowa, but no one ever put in a bid on the building.

Subsequently, Freedom Fabrication and Excavation won the bid to demolish the building and says it will wrap up the project in a day or two.

Clubhouse move

An IR file photo from Sept. 17, 1983, after the clubhouse was moved from downtown to the golf course.

Thom Bridge can be reached at Thom.bridge@helenair.com

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