Bader/Jaquette House

Jaquette arrived in the Flathead Valley in 1886, when you could pretty much tally up all the homesteads just by looking across the valley

By Jaix Chaix

The house at 46 Fifth Ave. W. was built by Elmer Bader around 1903. Bader was a carpenter and came to Kalispell in 1891 — when the town was little more than a bold idea and a handful of shacks (and “Elmer” was a rather popular name).

Back then one of the earliest businesses was the former Kalispell Malting & Brewing Company, which in 1893 occupied a sprawling site to the north along Fifth Ave. W. And Bader had much to do with developing the corner to the south.

In 1894, Bader built the Westwang House (formerly at 36 Fifth Ave. W.). In 1897, he completed a modest rental house around the corner at 521 First St. W. (which is also no longer there). And in 1899, he started a lumber business on the corner, where this house now stands.

In 1903, Bader transformed the corner further still. Having relocated his lumber business (to Second Avenue East between First and Railroad Streets), he built this fine residence on the site of his former lumberyard.

Incidentally, this house and the other two that Bader built along the Fifth Avenue thoroughfare stood literally in the shadows of the “Best Bottled Beer” sign that once towered above the malt house for years.

In 1905, Bader moved his family to Eureka, and sold the house to its other namesake, Walter Parke Jaquette. Like many farmers in the Flathead Valley, Jaquette kept a “rent house in town.” He rented the house for almost 30 years, but moved in himself when he retired from farming in 1934 (at the age of 68). Jaquette lived in the home until 1955, which gave him plenty of time to reflect upon things, as necessary considering his history.

Jaquette arrived in the Flathead Valley in 1886, when you could pretty much tally up all the homesteads just by looking across the valley. Jaquette took up a preemption claim before the now-forgotten town of Demersville was even founded. Likewise, he watched Kalispell rise up from little more than a few homestead claims and a patch of prairie grass. But never mind that Jaquette was a pioneer farmer, or that he raised eight children — Jaquette himself was history.

For example, in 1890, Jaquette was part of a posse that set out to round up “bad Indians” for killing “innocent white settlers.” This was a profound chapter in the history of the American West, and it ultimately led to the hanging of four Native Americans.

Perhaps even more remarkable, Jaquette was living at the house in 1937, when 47 years later, a long-anticipated revenge murder took place. Lawrence Finley (an Indian who rode with Jaquette in the posse as a special deputy after turning in the “bad Indians”) was killed by Peter Paul Pierre (a nephew of Pierre Paul — one of the four who swung from the gallows in 1890).

Jaquette worked hard and lived long. And this is just one tale of many that Jaquette experienced in his lifetime. He owned the home for some 50 years and passed away in 1958 at the age of 95.

So when you pass by the Bader/Jaquette House, appreciate the craftsmanship of Elmer Bader and the many Queen Anne style elements about the house (which are indeed one-of-a-kind). And pause for a moment in remembrance of Walter Parke Jaquette, a Flathead Valley pioneer who is all but forgotten, much like the history he had made and known.

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.

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