It all started when...
In 1909 the Labor Temple was completed in Red Lodge on the corner of 8th and Billings Ave (now Broadway). This four-story, 20,000 sq. ft. brick building was built by the Red Lodge Miners Local No. 1771 for $36,000, using a quarter of a million bricks from the Fromberg Brick Yard. It served more than 1000 union miners in the Carbon County area.
The first floor was occupied by the Kaleva Co-Operative Mercantile from 1909-1912. The second floor was devoted to union offices, a public library with writing and reading room, plus the "Workers Club," which encouraged all to join. The third floor housed lodging rooms and showers as well as the finest dance hall in Carbon County. It wasn't until Labor Day on September 8, 1910 that the Labor Temple was dedicated with great flare and honor to all the area miners. The Labor Temple served the Carbon County miners until the mid 1920's.
The building has been occupied by several community organizations through the years such as; a community center in the 30's and 40's, Jr. Rifle Club, in the basement, and the "American Legion' who bought the building in 1947. Businesses who occupied the building in the 50's put in a roller skating rink on the third floor. In the early 60's a car dealership, Mountain Chevrolet Co. moved into the main floor and the Red Lodge Cannery Co. used the basement for storage. In 1963 a car fire broke out causing $10,000 worth of damage to the building and 13,000 cases of peas had water damage. For a couple of years in the 80's a Napa Auto Parts store occupied the main floor until it sold again. The building then sat vacant for a few more years until it was anonymously donated to the Carbon County Historical Society in 1990.
For the next nine years the Historical Society received money through grants and private donations to restore the main floor and basement. Then in June of 1999 the Labor Temple once again opened its doors to the community as the county's museum, now called the Carbon County Historical Society & Museum. The society is in the process of raising money to restore and renovate the top two floors.
The Republican Picket
September 23, 1909
A Modern Structure
"..It will furnish a beautiful home for the organized
labor, and will remain for many years as a magnificent
monument to the enterprise of its builders."