The Parrott Block: A brief history of AWARE’s corporate offices

AWARE moved into the renovated Parrott Block in 2006

AWARE moved into the renovated Parrott Block in 2006

AWARE Inc.’s corporate offices at 205 East Park Avenue testify to our belief in connecting to our communities. Nowhere has AWARE succeeded on a grander scale in following that principle than in Anaconda, where we’ve transformed a turn-of-the-century landmark into a handsome addition to the central business district.

Located in the Parrott Block in downtown Anaconda, the renovated two-story brick and granite building that houses AWARE’s administrative offices features, as one news report described it, “contemporary accents glinting in copper and glass outside and tin ceilings and antique light fixtures glowing high above hardwood floors in the lobby inside.”

AWARE completed the $1.4 million renovation in the spring of 2006. In May of that year, we dedicated the building to the Francisco family for the hard work and service they have devoted to the community. The Franciscos owned and operated MacIntyre’s, the clothing store that occupied the Parrott Block for nearly two decades.

Among the earliest structures in Anaconda, the building sits on two lots on the original townsite, once owned by Copper King Marcus Daly, who laid the foundations for the town in 1881 and originally dubbed the new community Copperopolis.

That same year Daly’s Anaconda Mining Co. began building its reduction works – a copper smelter and refinery – on the banks of Warm Springs Creek.

Daly sold Lot 5 in Block 37 (what was to become the Parrott Block) to Newton Dickenson for $150 in December 1883.

Dickenson, in turn, sold the ground to James R. and Stella Campbell in 1887, and the Campbells turned it over to George Parrott in 1895. Parrott built the two-story building and affixed his name in granite in a gently curving arc on the facade.

Anaconda in 1884

Anaconda in 1884.

Parrott’s building also featured granite arches over the second-story windows and decorative brickwork. A stained-glass window accented the main window on the second floor overlooking what was a bustling Park Avenue at the turn of the century.

The Parrott Block’s “choice furnished rooms” with “team heat and electric lights” at “reasonable rates” catered to smelter workers and others who arrived looking for jobs at the reduction works or seeking their fortunes in other enterprises in Daly’s new city.

R.L. Polk city directories from that era list a succession of proprietors of the furnished rooms, Evelyn Canovan, Albertina Kopeska, Nellie Judge among them.

Parrott sold the building in May 1915 to Joseph L. Kelly. A year later, documents at the Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Assessor’s Office show, Kelly transferred ownership to Kelly Commercial Co. for $1.00.

The 1917 Polk Directory contains this entry:

Kelly Commercial Co. J L Kelly Pres and Gen Mngr 
Groceries Fruits Vegetables Bakery and Confectionery Goods Hay Grain Feed Cigars and Tobacco 205-207 E Park Av.”

Kelly transferred ownership of the building to C.T. Shearer in 1917 but continued to do business at 205-07 E. Park Ave. until 1940. A photo from the 1920s shows the building still housed “Furnished Rooms” on the second floor.

Kelly Commercial Company

Kelly Commercial Co. in the Parrott Block sold groceries, baked goods, hay and tobacco, among other items,

In 1941, F.W. Woolworth store replaced the Kelly Co. in Parrott block. Woolworth’s sold “Five and Dime” goods there until 1958, when the store moved further east on the block.

In 1960, Alexander M. MacIntyre and manager O.S. Hetherington moved MacIntyre’s (“Clothing, Shoes and Furnishings for Men and Boys”) from 421 E. Park to the Parrott Block.

MacIntyre’s entered a float in Anaconda Diamond Jubilee parade in 1958.

Half of the building was occupied by Gambles (207 E. Park) and half by MacIntyre’s (205 E. Park) from 1960 through 1974. In 1975, Gamble’s moved its appliance and hardware business to a new location in Anaconda.

From 1977 through 1981, the city directory shows, Rosenberg’s Inc. (“Home of Quality Furniture, Floor Coverings, Rugs and Carpets and Outdoor Furniture”) operated at 207 E. Park. After Rosenberg’s departure, Grizzly Boots opened a store in the east half of the Parrott Block and sold boots there in 1984-85, after which MacIntyre’s became the sole occupier of the property.

KELLY-COMMERCIAL-INTERIORCounty property records show the building trading ownership within the Shearer family (C.T. to John D. to Charles T. and wife and back to John D. until Sib Malee bought the property in 1966.

Malee sold the property in 1970 to Anaconda insurance agent Edward McGreevey and his partner, Robert Prigge. They owned the building until Robert F. and Mary C. Francisco bought it in 1980 after operating MacIntyre’s under lease for a time.
Mr. and Mrs. Francisco, and later son Stephan, ran the store for nearly 20 years.

In 2004, MacIntyre’s, which had been doing business in Anaconda since 1909, closed. The Francisco family sold the building to AWARE Inc. in March 2005.

Boy and frog sculpture

Healthy Kids is the message AWARE wants to convey with this bronze sculpture that graces the lobby of the administration building at 205 E. Park Ave. in Anaconda.

Contractor Dale Harris of Anaconda completed renovating the building in the spring of 2006. AWARE renamed the building in honor of the Franciscos, parents of Geri Francisco-Wyant, the corporation’s chief financial officer, and dedicated it to them on May 1 2006.

In the center of the lobby stands a bronze sculpture of a boy, balancing on stones as he reaches across a stream to catch a frog.
AWARE Chief Executive Officer Larry Noonan chose the piece because it represents the freedom and joy of childhood. It also carries local significance for Anaconda kids who caught frogs in the creek that flows through nearby Washoe Park.

“It portrays to me the message we’re trying to send: healthy kids, healthy families,” Noonan said. “That’s what we want to expose kids to; we see too many kids who are having all the other exposures.”

AWARE’s new office features woodwork accents, warm lighting, and modern office niches on the first floor. Conference rooms nested in the center on the ground floor afford privacy and comfort. Employees can enjoy lunch and breaks in the stylish bistro at the rear of the building.

Upstairs, the former “furnished rooms” have been converted to offices. The executive suite of offices and a boardroom occupy the north end of the building. Sunlight floods a large conference room on south end. AWARE uses another spacious conference room in the basement for corporate gathering and training.

Windows on the north side of the building include AWARE’s logo in stained glass.

Besides serving as AWARE’s headquarters, the building is also our central training site and a hub for corporate gatherings.

Compiled by Jim Tracy