Gerald Avenue between S 6th E and Evans was know as Mansion Row in the early 20th Century. The premier and largest mansion, occupying an entire block, was the Bonner Mansion. However, there were numerous others, owned by prominent Missoulians like the Toole and Peterson families.
At the north end of Mansion Row, there were the Peterson and Wilkenson residences, both located on the west side of Gerald between S 6th E and Eddy, and shown in the first two photos below. The Peterson mansion, in the middle of the block, was built by the owner of Peterson Drugs (which was located downtown where Butterfly Herbs is now until it closed in the late ’70s). The Wilkenson house sat on the NE corner of the intersection of Gerald and Eddy. By the mid-1970s, both houses were gone; the Wilkenson place having been razed for the new Hellgate High annex, and the Peterson home moved to 39th street to make room for a parking lot. It would later become a bed & breakfast, which is in operation today.
Proceeding south, the block between Eddy and Connell was occupied by Hellgate High on the west side and the Bonner mansion on the east side. The next block between Connell and Daly began with the magnificent Toole home on the SW corner of the intersection. Shown in the lower left corner of the photo above, it now the Kappa Kappa G Gamma sorority house.
(To be continued…)