Beaman House

Budd and Ann Carol Beaman moved away from Kalispell in 1955 after keeping a family legacy of more than 30 years at the residence

By Jaix Chaix

The house at 230 Fourth Ave. W. may look like just another “old house” in Kalispell, but there’s far more to it than that, including a few ironic twists.

The home was originally built as a duplex rent house for Alex Goyette. It was completed around 1895, the year after Goyette ran for constable of Kalispell. He was a member of the Populist Party, which was generally against capitalism and anything too prosperous or too modern. So it’s a bit ironic (if not hypocritical) that Goyette was on the Populist ticket – and building a duplex rent house as a landlord in the “workingman’s section” of town. Somehow, Goyette didn’t win the election. But he did build this rare Queen Anne style duplex – one with a quite clever, if not illusory, blend of form and function.

At first glance, the brick veneer on the bottom and fanciful wood siding above suggest there was one residence on the first floor, and another on the second. However, this wasn’t the case. And since the home was built during an era of “false fronts” and “back alleys,” having one residence at the front and another at the back would seem obvious, too. But this wasn’t the case either.

The orientation of this 1890s duplex was a bit more clever, as much thought was given to make the house seem less like two adjoined residences, and more like a cohesive whole. Indeed, it’s hard to tell this duplex once had a residence at the north and another at the south (with the dividing wall – east to west – in between the windows – north to south – on the first and second floors).

After Goyette’s ownership and several tenants, the house was owned by a couple of other landlords. In 1922, namesakes William E. Beaman and his wife Anna (née Papin) purchased the home. William and Anna married in 1887 and came to the Flathead Valley in 1906. When they moved in, Anna was busy teaching or performing music, while William managed the grain elevator for the Kalispell Mercantile Co. at 13 Fourth Ave. W. As was common in the day, William lived as close to his work as possible (and so endured a “fatiguing” one-block commute to work).

During the home renovation bonanza in the late 1920s, the Beamans converted the house to a single-family residence. The conversion was somewhat ironic, yet a sensible one. That is, while many large Victorian, single-family houses were converted into several “rented rooms” or apartments, the Beamans converted their duplex into a single-family residence.

Despite doing the opposite, their conversion made sense, as the house remained in the Beaman family until 1955. And in keeping with another tradition, the Beamans celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the home among their many admiring friends and family.

The Beamans kept with tradition further still, as they “retired from town” and passed down the home to their son Robert “Budd” L. Beaman. Their other son La Vaughn worked as the chief clerk of Blackfeet National Forest, and left the area as his career with the Forest Service took him elsewhere.

Budd Beaman was an accomplished photographer and operated Beaman’s Studio (formerly at 221 Main St.). Budd likely planned many artistic portraits, newspaper assignments, and many photographic sojourns into Glacier Park at the home, along with his wife (and photography assistant) Ann Carol (née Thomson).

Budd and Ann Carol Beaman moved away from Kalispell in 1955 after keeping a family legacy of more than 30 years at the residence – a unique house, with a history uniquely bound by irony and tradition.

Jaix Chaix is the author of the book, Flathead Valley Landmarks. You can register for his “Historic Homes of Kalispell” course and trolley tour at FVCC on May 9, 2015 at fvcc.edu or (406) 756-3832.