Neighborhoods – Belt, MT

Text by Holly Matkin • Photography by Daphne Wade

The Belt Theater Company, 64 Castner Street    –    The Belt Theater’s New Era

If you love the arts and old frontier towns, trek over to the Belt Knights of Pythias building to witness the rebirth of the Belt Theater as it approaches its 101st birthday.

The Board of the Belt Theater Company has been working tirelessly to restore the structure. “This is a twenty year dream that’s finally coming together for a group of volunteers,” explains Gary Gray, President of the Board. “The exterior now looks exactly like it did in 1916, but the interior is one hundred percent new.”  

Belt resident and project fundraiser Del Darko looks forward to having a venue for musical and theater performances, and the building’s old silent movie theater space is an obvious draw. “I like that we’re saving a historical building and bringing arts to rural Montana,” he says. “Plus, I’m a bit of a nostalgia junkie.”


Belt Mercantile and Art Gallery, 78 Castner Street    –    Eclectic Treasures by Local Artists

Escape into a world of beadwork, bronze and brushstrokes while meandering through Belt Mercantile and Art Gallery. Owner and curator Anne Erickson offers a plethora of western art themed pieces, including quilts, lamps constructed from saddles, and a variety of jewelry.  

After years as a physical therapist, Anne established a singular goal for her retirement. “I just wanted to have fun!” she laughs, “And I wanted to contribute to the local community, to support local artists and to get to know people without having spent the past twenty years in town.” When a spontaneous trip landed her in Belt, she immediately knew it was home. “These are truly the nicest people I have ever met,” she says. “It’s serendipity.” 

The Belt Mercantile and Art Gallery is open this now through Christmas.

Harvest Moon Brewing Company, 57 Castner Street    –    The Life of Brewing

Ever wonder what it takes to make the refreshing Harvest Moon craft beer you swill on these lazy summer days? Stan Guedesse and the crew at Harvest Moon Brewing Company invite thirsty beer-lovers to come and witness the brewing and packaging processes by taking in one of their daily brewery tours –and to sample one of their ten taps, of course.

“We have great brewing water from the Madison Aquifer,” Stan explains. “We make a good, consistent product, which is pretty hard for a lot of small breweries.” 

And while we love catchy names like “Pig’s Ass Porter” and locally-themed label artwork, it is the quality and taste of Harvest Moon’s brews that keep customers thirsting for more.

We’ll drink to that.

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4th Avenue, Conrad, MT

Text by Claire Baiz • Photography by Daphne Wade

Creative Addictions 11 4th Ave. SW, Ste 300
Art, In the Old Arnot’s Building

Kit Finlayson’s four grandkids have no excuse to be bored—visiting their grandmother’s business is like entering a Willy Wonka craft factory, overloaded with watercolor supplies, jewelry, scrapbooking, stamping, knitting, rug making, and every imaginable paper craft. Located in the huge Arnot’s furniture building, Creative Addictions has plenty of friendly workspace, along with lotions, oils, perfume and gifts…and then there’s the gourmet chocolate.

It’s no surprise that Creative Addictions is garnering a national reputation among crafters.

Finlayson, a Conrad native and MSU graduate, loves to do all the artistic things she has in her store. Stop by, take an adult-ed class, or share the joy of “I made this!” with your friends and family.

Even if you don’t crochet, it’s easy to get hooked at Creative Addictions.

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US-89 Vaughn, MT

Written by Claire Baiz • Photography by Marcus Serrano

Silver Spur Saloon, 115 US Highway 89

Kick Up Your Heels at the Silver Spur

“Summertime at the Silver Spur means busy days and slower nights,” says co-owner Dan DeWitt. “Winter, it’s the other way around.” There’s lots to do at this bar, grill and pool hall. From the brother-sister team that runs the place to dad’s bookwork, and an uncle who lives out back, everyone pitches in. Pool and dart leagues attract customers from fall to spring. When the ice breaks, nearby construction projects boost the lunch trade. The Silver Spur boasts a full service bar, specialty burgers, salads, tacos and nachos. Come by on weekends, when they open up early to serve their famous Silver Spur skillet breakfasts.

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Northeast Smelter, Great Falls, MT

Smelter Avenue Financial Hub

Text by Clair Baiz • Photography by Daphne Wade


Montana Federal Credit Union, 1540 Smelter Ave. NE

“The north office? It’s a close-knit group,” says Becky Timmons, vice president of marketing for Montana Federal Credit Union. The building got a facelift this spring, but it remains their most intimate location.

Along with loan officers, tellers, drive- thru lanes and an ATM, there’s a popular “no fee” coin machine, affectionately dubbed ‘the piggy bank drop’. “It’s fun to watch kids drop in their dimes, quarters and pennies.”

A big draw for their Smelter Avenue location is Kari Grassman, a loan officer who’s been there “since day one,” Timmons says. “Kari generates a lot of loyalty.”

On the Friday before Thanksgiving, doors open early to offer personal loans at very low interest rates, which go up through the day. “We’re busy. There’s lots of traffic on that side of town,” says Timmons.

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Written by Claire Baiz • Photos by Daphne Wade

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Hartelius, Durocher & Winter PC 118 6th St. South

Local Lawyers Offer Legal Advice

Hartelius, Durocher & Winter are hometown guys made good: these Great Falls High grads have been practicing law at their current location on the corner of Sixth Street and First Avenue South since 2010.

It’s logical that Channing Hartelius, the firm’s senior legal counsel, feels at home in a building that once housed a TV studio: whether he’s dressed as Austin Powers for a charity event or making an impassioned plea to a jury, there’s no denying that Channing was born to perform.

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Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT

Gear Up at Helena’s Bicycle Haven

Text by Claire Baiz • Photography by Nicole Keintz

The Garage, Cole, Steve and Evan

The Garage, 334 Jackson Street

The moment you walk in, it’s obvious The Garage isn’t just a retail store—it’s a working part of central Montana’s cycling community, offering local art, a meeting space with a full-on DJ studio, and even beer on tap, along with custom bicycles, accessories and fine repairs.

“The Garage grew out of…my own garage,” owner Steve Coen grins at the metal overhead door that opens onto North Jackson Street.

A bike shop can be like a classic art studio, where personalized craftsmanship is the result of years of apprenticeship. With a little help from Steve, Cole and Evan, you’ll pedal out of The Garage on the bike of your dreams.

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