The Bon Ton Story
In the late 1870s, entrepreneur W. W. Alderson decided he’d take a parcel of land at the Southern end of the settlement of Bozeman Montana and create a grand boulevard with high-end residences for the town’s growing population.
Willson Avenue (named Central Avenue until 1920) was born, and the Bon Ton House, built in 1880, was sold to a group of early Montana settlers, the Mardis family. The arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1883 allowed for a boom in Bozeman’s building scene, and this neighborhood quickly became the most desirable residential district for Bozeman’s elite.
In 1884, the editor of the Avant-Courier announced that South Central Ave. (South Willson Ave.) was becoming a “Bon Ton residence street in Bozeman” (Bon Ton meaning fashionable or sophisticated). The name stuck, and today this section of town is referred to as Bozeman’s Bon Ton Historic District.
The Mardis family, the original owners of the Bon Ton House were mentioned in Bozeman’s Avant-Courier newspaper on April 24th, 1884. “Geo. W. Mardis, on Central Avenue, has recently built a neat and commodious barn, newly painted his new residence, and will soon surround the whole by a neat paling fence and shade trees. Such improvements show the right kind of local enterprise.”
Having undergone intensive renovations in 2014, the Bon Ton House offers guests the comfort of a newly renovated and fully furnished apartment, along with the peaceful feel of a home rich with history. Hot water radiators in every room provide radiant heat and the original interior doors still operate by use of antique glass doorknobs.
A newly landscaped backyard features a Weber gas grill, an extra-large picnic table, and a custom-built fire ring with plenty of firewood.
Each apartment at the Bon Ton House has been furnished with hand-picked decor and stocked with all the luxuries you would expect from a top-quality vacation rental. Every detail from makeup wipes to coffee filters has been considered.
Although W.W. Alderson’s new neighborhood was at the outskirts of Bozeman in 1880, today the Bon Ton House sits just two blocks South of Bozeman’s bustling main strip. Guests staying at the house enjoy the convenience of downtown living, with countless restaurants, shops, and entertainment facilities within easy walking distance. The Downtown Bozeman Association works hard to keep its city center vibrant, and visitors coming to this gem of a community won’t want to stay anywhere but in the heart of downtown.