Our plans are pretty straightforward today—visit the Conrad Mansion in Kalispell, have lunch in Whitefish, and devote the rest of the day to watching the men’s final of the U.S. Open.
Kalispell is about 15 minutes away and since the tour is first come, first served with a maximum of twenty people every hour, I am a little jittery when we pull up at 9:50. I need not have worried since the only one waiting is the welcome cat who is very pleased to see us.
Soon enough we are ushered into the house for our tour with two other couples and two kids. The twenty-three room shingled Victorian style house was begun in 1892 and completed in 1895. It was the home of Charles E. Conrad, a late 19th century shipping businessman and early pioneer of Kalispell. In addition to shipping, Conrad was involved in a number of different businesses including real estate, banking, cattle ranching, and mining. The house was bequeathed to the city by his daughter who was a bit of a pack rat which led to 90% of the furniture, pictures, and knick knacks being original to the house. Alas, no photos are permitted in the house and there are very few on the internet.
The house has all the modern conveniences of the day flush toilets, electric lights, a communication system within the house, water fountains, and even a dishwasher! There was a large staff of 24 half of whom worked outside on the grounds and stables and the other half inside.
After our interesting tour we ride around Kalispell admiring the many Victorian houses, large and small. On Main Street downtown there are two prominent buildings. The Grand Hotel built in 1890 and amazingly still operating as a hotel…
and the Flathead County Courthouse completed in 1905. Charles Conrad spearheaded the effort to get Flathead County established and the courthouse built.
Lunchtime! We drive back to Whitefish to a brewery we espied last night when we had dinner. We have sandwiches and a beer.
Now we settle down to almost five hours of tennis followed by frozen dinners microwaved in the room. Since our favorite player, Roger Federer, is not in the final, we merely root against Rafa Nadal. The other player is a young Russian who almost wins. It would be nice to see someone else win for a change.
Tomorrow we leave Whitefish for Montana’s state capital, Helena. We are hoping to stop at the Train Depot Museum here in Whitefish before we go.