Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Moss Mansion

The beautiful Moss Mansion in Billings—now a house museum—is a twenty-five-room residence built in 1903. It was the longtime home of the Preston Moss family. New York architect R. J. Hardenbergh, whose work includes New York City’s Waldorf Astoria, designed the elegant mansion. Mahogany and walnut woodwork, an onyx fireplace, rose silk and gold leaf wall coverings, and stained glass windows are among the luxurious details.
Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, PAc 2004-17
Preston Moss arrived in Billings in 1892 on his way to Butte from Missouri and saw Billings’ financial promise. He became a prominent banker; helped develop the sugar beet industry, the Billings Light and Water Company, and the Billings Polytechnic Institute (now Rocky Mountain College); and with a partner ran eighty thousand head of sheep and several thousand head of cattle. He also pioneered the Billings Gazette and was instrumental in the creation of the Huntley Irrigation Project. He even started a toothpaste factory and a meat packing plant. Moss also promoted an idea he called Mossmain. This was a futuristic city he planned to build ten miles west of Billings. World War II intervened, and Preston Moss died in 1947, never realizing this dream. Melville, the Mosses’ middle daughter, was seven when her family moved into the mansion. She was a talented musician and played the harp, piano, and bass from an early age. Melville traveled the world and never married, but the mansion was her home throughout her life. She died in 1984 at eighty-two. Because of Melville’s good stewardship, the grand interiors remain unchanged today.

From More Montana Moments
P.S. Remember this Montana mansion?

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