Bryan & Stefanie Flynn purchased their house at 524 West Lawrence several years ago and contemplated its historical significance in light of changes that were made over time. It is the former home of Frank Bird Linderman, and Stephanie summarizes his experience here this way:
“ Frank Bird Linderman lived here from 1907-1917, and wrote his first book in this house - "Indian Why Stories" - which was a big seller, especially back east, and illlustrated by one of his best friends, Charlie Russell. Charlie illustrated many of Frank's books, and copies of those that are signed by Charlie go for about $6,000 - so if you see one at a garage sale for a quarter, buy it! “
Resolved to return the home to its historical appearance, Bryan & Stefanie undertook the unthinkable: they began to systematically remove the thick layer of stucco pasted on the house some 6 decades ago. Teetering high on a ladder and prying off the stucco, Bryan managed to expose the entire façade, finding the original narrow cedar siding beneath reasonably intact. After considerable work, including clean-up and repairs, the old walls returned to their historic look. A coat of paint with care and attention to the window detailing, made a stunning difference.
In attempting this project, Bryan and Stefanie attacked what other homeowners have dreamed of doing but were concerned about the unknowns. What horrible discoveries lay hidden beneath that old stucco? Were there irreparable sections of the siding lurking underneath? Had siding been removed? The answer was not a terrifying one. Instead, a lovely Victorian home emerged from its clay and gravel casing, brilliant once again, its details alive and compelling.
Should Frank Bird Linderman’s spirit wander by his old residence on Lawrence Street in Helena, he will not wonder at the changes made but look with nostalgic satisfaction upon what is clearly his beautiful old home.