Historic Howard Apartments back in familiar hands

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Several investors with dreams of snatching up the historic Howard Apartment Building at 147 W. Main Street in the wake of a foreclosure proceeding gathered at the base of the Missoula County Courthouse steps Wednesday morning. When the auctioneer asked if anyone was willing to bid above the minimum $903,296 asking price, the small crowd stayed mum. Apparently, they couldn’t stomach covering the tab on the 120-year-old structure that has fallen into disrepair.

Outgoing owner Steve Wall purchased the Howard years ago from Horton Howard, a part-time Missoula resident who christened the building in his name in 1991. But Wall fell behind on payments to Horton and the former owner went ahead with foreclosure proceedings.

But with no bids during the trustee sale, the Howard, which houses the Mo Club, The Rhino and about 70 apartments, will now revert back to Horton’s ownership.

It remains to be seen if Horton will spruce up the Howard. The tall white building at the corner of Main and Ryman streets was built in 1891 and originally served as the Kennedy Hotel, one of several built in Missoula around the turn of the century to accommodate travelers increasingly arriving by train.

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Chauncey Woodworth Photographs, K. Ross Toole Archives, The University of Montana—Missoula

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