A couple of years ago a very unfortunate fire started in one of Great Falls’ downtown historic multi-story buildings. Most people identified the building as the Public Drug building since that was the retail operation on the main/street level floor.
The building was on the corner of 6th Street and Central Avenue – a main intersection in downtown Great Falls. It still stands today but is unoccupied and has remnants of the fire visible. Some work has been done on the structure for safety reasons but budgets have not stretched far enough to totally reclaim the building to it’s original beauty or to allow occupancy.
Immediately after the fire, Public Drug relocated to a vacant corner at the intersection of 3rd Street and Central Avenue but the space was much smaller.
They have had a long-time pharmacy in the store and all of those records were saved. That portion of the business didn’t miss a beat after the fire.
The owners of Public Drug chose another corner in downtown Great Falls to construct a building that they would own instead of lease. Central Avenue and 4th Street now has a stunning brick building and the historic and well-known wrap-around neon corner lights from the previous location were incorporated into the new design.
I took two evening photos, one with flash off, one with flash on, to show the new building.
On another positive note, the owners of the original structure at 6th Street and Central have recently just received a large financial boost and hope to use that to leverage other restoration funding.