The Goshorn House

By Beacon Staff

In a neighborhood flanked with many other historic homes – and some quite fanciful, if not colorful – the Goshorn House humbly anchors the corner at Fourth Avenue East and Fifth Street East in Kalispell.

This home is a fine example of a cross-gabled, Queen Anne home. Its decorative shingles, clapboard siding and diamond-shaped windows are all some of the hallmarks of the late Victorian-era. Some of the appointments and finishing on the inside also feature fine craftsmanship of the era as well.

Aside from the exterior and interior features of the home – which are indeed fine examples of the Queen Anne style – this home has a story to tell – a story and history that, in many ways, matter as much as its architecture.

This home was newly built in 1900 and owned by Robert M. Goshorn, publisher and editor of the Daily Inter Lake. Goshorn lived here with his wife Alice, a reporter for the paper, and their children, Joseph and Mildred. Notably, Mildred was in the first class to complete the four-year course at The Flathead County High School.

The family seemed to enjoy the early years of the 20th century at the home, however, fate would soon strike a tragic blow to the household. On May 19, 1907, the Goshorns’ son Joseph drowned in a canoeing accident on Lake Washington, bordering Seattle. Reportedly, squalls formed treacherous waves, which swamped and sunk the canoe. Two of Joseph’s fellow Stanford University classmates also drowned – and only one of the four young boaters survived.

Such a sorrowful tragedy could devastate any family. Yet in keeping themselves from sorrow and misery, the Goshorn’s immersed themselves in the business of running the paper. And in 1908, they transformed the Kalispell Inter Lake (a weekly paper) into the Kalispell Daily Inter Lake (the daily newspaper it is today).

In so doing, the Daily Inter Lake became an enterprise, and came a long way from its first publication on August 10, 1889 as The (Demersville) Inter Lake, which was then a two-page newsprint for a hell-roaring town whose advertisers included stage coach lines, folks who lost guns and grain seeders alike, and proprietors who kept “coffins and caskets on hand” and could fill special orders on “short notice.”

After establishing the daily paper, Goshorn later sold the Daily Inter Lake in 1913, to a company formed by a group of “progressives.” Progressivism was teeming at the time in Kalispell and around the nation due to Theodore Roosevelt’s unsuccessful 1912 presidential campaign under his “Progressive Party.”

Despite the sale, Alice continued to contribute to the paper. And just a casual glance at the early writings will evidence how she and the paper both shared little hesitation when it came to addressing ornery persons and the controversies of their day, such as milk being served in schools – and other things we hardly think about today.

Before his death in 1937, Goshorn served the U.S. Land Office as a receiver for the Taft administration and a register for the Harding administration.

So the next time you’re around the corner of Fourth Avenue East and Fifth Street East, be sure to take a look at the house on the corner. It’s not only architecturally significant, it’s a place where many newspaper articles were likely conjured and debated, and a place where one of Kalispell’s honorable, early families once lived.

Jaix Chaix is a writer who appreciates history, art, and architecture. You can share ideas and historical facts with him at landmarks@flatheadbeacon.com

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