Pfouts & Russel (Rank's Drug-Old Masonic Temple)

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Virginia City 59729,Butte Area

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Location: Virginia City

Paris Pfouts, Vigilante president, and Virginia City’s first mayor was instrumental in laying out the town. He and his partner, Samuel Russell, built a log store on this site in summer, 1863. Local hell-raiser Jack Slade was arrested here on March 10, 1864, and, in an execution controversial even among the Vigilantes, hanged on a corral gatepost behind the building. Pfouts and Russell constructed the present building in 1865. Lime was not yet available for mortar, so the stone walls were secured with adobe mud. A loyal Mason, Pfouts gave the second floor to the Masonic Lodge. There the Grand Lodge of Montana A.F. & A.M. was founded on January 24, 1866. W.W. Morris moved his drug store, established in the Hangman’s Building in 1864, to this location circa 1877. C.W. Rank bought the business in 1889. He and his wife ran it until 1946. Now housing the oldest continuously operated business in Montana, the building has been little altered since the 1860s.

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