Architecture – Art Deco Buildings – Florence Hotel, Missoula, MT

I just met this building last week. An Art Deco like, or Moderne-style, this is a 7 story high structure in Missoula Downtown area. This particular building perhaps is not the most opulent one, but somehow it look very appropriately belonging to its surroundings.

Art Moderne (or Streamline Moderne), emerged in 1930s and is an international style of Art Deco architecture and design. 

The Florence Hotel building was completed in 1941. The new hotel building was built on the spot where two previous hotel buildings burnt down. The cost of the construction was estimated $600,000. The architect behind this new Missoula marvel was G.A. Pehrson (from Spokane, Washington). The project itself was proposed and pushed forward by the local businessman Walter H. McLeod who secured support of the community. The original name Florence was preserved and was based on the name of the wife of A.B. Hammond who built the first hotel in 1888.

(Looking south ca. 1945. Source: Historic Montana)

The support was provided, despite the Great Depression still having its’ grip on the country, due to the absence of major hotel accommodations in the city. The community shareholders proudly held about 67% of interest in the building. 

Terra-cotta and glass blocks decorate concrete façade of the building (source: the Library of Congress)

The new hotel had 140-rooms, first central air conditioning system, novel glass shower doors, underground parking and first-class interior appointments in a “harmony of color” (

Interior of the hotel at different times. 

In 1970s the building was transformed into an office complex with retail businesses on the first floor.

At the present moment the building is owned by structural engineer from Dallas, Texas, Thomas Taylor (watch interview below).

  • 1992 – the building was entered into National Register of Historic Places