I finished this one up last night. The Blue Anchor is at such a wonderful location, in the crossroads town of Twin Bridges, Montana. Standing on the bridge, with that deep perspective of the road, the mountains tower, blue, over the bar. It’s an elegant building, simple and strong, with enough intricate brickwork to show the kind of craftsmanship that was in the area some hundred plus years ago.
You notice things staring a a building for hours when doing a painting that you wouldn’t otherwise. The window spacing, for instance, is off on one side of this building from the other. I haven’t been able to find historical photos going far enough back, but my guess is that the building was originally just the one side up to the center window, and that the other side was added on later and trimmed to bring the entire building together. Usually in that case, there will be differences in the coloration of the brick, like when they stopped and started on the Washington Monument. But with the harsh Montana sun and likely the same brickmaker and craftsmen working on it, I still have a feeling like this was the case.
In the 1930s, the building was updated into more or less what you see today. The ground floor windows were bricked over and re-proportioned, a glorious blue facade was added, along with a full width neon sign, inset glass brick doorways and a huge anchor shaped neon, protruding from the face of the building. The left hand side is a cafe, with a lunch counter and barrel roof straight out of an east coast diner of the 1930s. The right side is a bar, and with the separate entrances, from what I can tell, the two aren’t connected.
The Sladich Bar opened in 1896 and closed in the early 2000s.
Wide factory windows for the apartment up top give the building some ’30s modernist flair, along with the glass brick, porthole windows and tile facade. The left side door skews the ground floor facade off to the right, giving the whole package a slightly unbalanced look. Awning frames are still in place, but the awnings are long gone.
From the side it becomes apparent that this is an older building with later updates. Note the brick infill of the tall, skinny original windows on the second floor.
An incredibly well preserved and original hand painted sign on the side of the Sladich Bar for Rocky Mountain Beer, brewed by the Anaconda Brewing Company. Remember – you work better refreshed!
The Anaconda Brewing Company operated from 1898 to 1958, with time off for Prohibition. Their soft drink division became the Sugrue Bottling Company.
I passed through Sheridan last week on the way out to South Dakota. Unfortunately, it was on a Sunday, so the Mint, opened in 1907, was closed. It’s definitely a must stop on my next trip out that way. What a neon!