June 27, 2021 – Kalispell, Montana

We spent a quiet morning at the house relaxing, drinking coffee, having breakfast and engaged in conversation. Four of us (Mark included) took a 4.5-mile hike up one of the streets along Swan Lake admiring the beautiful homes, lush green lawns and abundant flower gardens. For a part of the country with a short warm season they grow some amazing colorful flowers.

By noon, five of us (Kent and Mark included) took the car and headed for the historic downtown of Kalispell about a 40-minute drive from the house. There we explored some of the shop windows on Main Street, dined at a local barbecue restaurant (Dickie’s) and drove through some of the charming tree-lined streets of town.

We stopped at the historic home of Charles and Lettie Conrad built in 1895. Charles was from Virginia and Lettie was from Nova Scotia, Canada. They met, fell in love and married in Fort Benton, Montana in 1881. They moved to the underdeveloped, but incredibly beautiful Flathead Valley in 1891. Charles Conrad was a fearless Montana pioneer and businessman who made his fortune as a Fort Benton Freighter and trader on the banks of the Missouri River. In 1892 Charles founded the town of Kalispell with his wife Lettie and they built their dream home. Construction of the 13,000 square foot mansion took three years and was completed in 1895. The home included modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and electricity.

Charles Conrad died of diabetes shortly after the home was finished at only 52 years of age. After the death of his wife Lettie in 1923, the home would remain in the family until their youngest of three daughters donated it to the city in 1974 along with most of the family’s belongings.

The home is in extraordinary condition and has been beautifully restored. Alicia Conrad and her family were hoarders so every room of the mansion is fully furnished and the attic is loaded with collectibles from the family collection. It was interesting to see what money could buy at that time. From the indoor plumbing fixtures and lighting fixtures to the furniture, kitchen and laundry equipment, everywhere you look is a piece of history.

Back at the house Todd and Larry and Curtis and David prepared us all a delicious dinner of a salad, Chicken Marsala, broccoli and strawberry shortbread for dessert. We all went to bed early as we had plans to leave the house the next morning for Glacier National Park very early.

Conrad Mansion
Conrad Mansion Dining Room
Conrad Mansion Billiard Room
Conrad Mansion Washing Machine
Conrad Mansion Bedroom
Kevin, Todd, Mark and Carlos