Rehab of Helena Fire Tower sees renewed momentum

Nolan Lister

Thanks to a recent Montana History Foundation grant award and a financial commitment from the city of Helena, a long-fought effort to restore the city’s beloved fire tower has new legs to stand on.

The Helena Fire Tower received $10,000 from MHF and was one of 28 projects in Montana to be awarded a piece of the organization’s more than $212,000 in grant money for 2022.

“It’s very much a symbol now,” Helena and Lewis and Clark County Heritage Preservation Officer Pam Attardo said, speaking to the importance of the wooden structure perched above Last Chance Gulch.

Attardo said much of the tower, including all four legs and the sill, date back to 1874.

“It really is still the fire tower,” she said.

A suspected arson fire set in 2016 left portions of the structure damaged, and the city did not commit funds to restore the tower at the time. The tourist draw has been fenced off, unable to support any more weight than some strands of lights since then. 

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