There’s a load of history in the Western Montana Fair’s Commercial Building, and that history will continue into the future with a $2 million remodel just completed in time for the ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday.


Historian for the Missoula Current, and former news anchor at KECI-TV Jim Harmon related some of the history of the building.

“The Commercial Building is 104 years old,” said Harmon. “Back then it had a different name. It was called the Agriculture Building. They had an incredible first year. The center aisle was filled with grain, fruits and vegetables, cut flowers and all sorts of things. The upstairs was used primarily by young people to display all the work they had done in agriculture and home economics.”

Harmon said the building has seen hard times in the past.

“This building, like so many others, fell into disrepair over the years,” he said. “Back then it had a massive reconstruction. But many don’t know this building had a twin that was one year older, but it burned down in 1941 when the grandstands also burned down.”

Harmon said the county acquired the present land in 1914.

“There was a $50,000 bond issue for both the 40 acres of land and the construction of all these buildings,” he said. “The newly refurbished building faithfully follows the guidelines of the original building.”

The newly remodeled Commercial Building now has an ADA approved elevator as well as ADA approved indoor family restrooms.

Kids from the Missoula County 4-H program cut the ribbon to the remodeled building surrounded by Missoula County Commissioners, Fair officials and Montana’s Lt. Governor Mike Cooney.

The fair continues through Sunday night with free admission.

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