Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
Livery Stables in Miles City
These stories which we give you each week are usually dated during that period when all a pedestrian had to be on the look out for on Main Street was a runaway team. Just as some of the best corners and locations in Miles City to-day are occupied by gasoline stations, which dish out the gas and oil that means so much to the present day transportation, so, in the early days some of the best locations in town were occupied by livery stables, those places where hay, oats and lodgings were furnished for the transportation power of the time--the horse. As this recital will be taken from the memory of Shade Tree Bill, supplemented by information from an old buffalo hunter and an early day cowhand, some of these stables may be missed, but we believe that most of the principal ones will be included. As near as we can ascertain, livery stables in Miles City were established in the following order. First, by Broadwater, Hubbel & Company, then Charley Brown, Johnson & Ringer, Hi Astle, Loveridge and Thurman, Ben Levalley, Bob Aitchison, George Wilson, Lee Chandler, and by Davis & Withrow. We will try to give the location and operators of these various stables, through the time of their operation. The Broadwater, Hubbel & Company stables was located right on the corner where the First National Bank stands. It was operated by that company in conjunction with the freighting operations necessary for its big general merchandise business--this concern being one of the largest and earliest mercantile operations in Eastern Montana--the location was used for a mercantile business for a while after the stable closed down--but it was again used as a stable by Baldy Bement, who also operated a hack stand at that corner. Charley Brown, that genial all around businessman and dispenser of justice, built his barn on the present site of the bowling alley and Kegler's club--this barn was the scene of much trading with Fort Keogh--and, after Brown went to Alaska in the Klondike rush, the stable was operated by Billy Gerhart and later by Clark Tozer. The corrals extended clear over to Eight Street, taking in the premises now occupied by the City Hall and the City Garage.

Ringer & Johnson's stable occupied the present site of the Wibaux building. It is shown in the foreground of one of Huffman's pictures of early day Main street. We have been told that this barn was destroyed by fire and was not rebuilt, the premises remaining vacant until purchased by Mr. Wibaux for the present Wibaux building. The next to be built, we believe, was one in the 100 block on South Fifth street, facing Riverside Park. The Old Grey Mule hostelry occupied the northern portion of this half block, and Hi Astle's stable the southern portion. It was widely patronized by guests of the old Macqueen House, which was the stockmen's headquarters during that era. The Loveridge & Thurman stable occupied the present site of the Reynolds Store, with corrals extending west to the Libery Theatre location. This stable was operated by a number of different parties--Loveridge & Thurman operated a stage line between Miles City and the Black Hills by way of Powderville, and this stable was headquarters on the west end of the line. After these folks quit the mail carrying business, Dick Ingersoll, of Bow Gun fame, ran the stable for a while, and after him Charley Hamilton and his son-in-law, Henry Travis--then Dave Tate took over and finally disposed of the lease to Neal Hardin. It was during Hardin's occupancy that Dan Hurt operated a cafe in the north part of the building, just where the entrance to the Reynolds store is now.

These stories are usually dated when the folks in Miles City bought their meats in a "butcher shop" where they sold steaks, chops and roasts and gave away the livers, kidneys and suet. The Bob Aitchison barn was located on the corner of Seventh and Bridge where the Sullivan Motor now sells its Studebaker cars. The only operator of this barn to our best recollection was Bob Aitchison himself--and in this barn Bob's famous racehorse "Kaycee" was quartered for a considerable time. Ben Levalley had his stable on the site of the Montgomery Ward building. This barn was known as the Star Livery. Ben was sheriff of the county for a term or two, and we believe the barn was afterwards operated by a party by the name of Jordan--although the Jordan "stabbing", which will be remembered by many, took place over in the Aitchison stable. George Wilson had a barn on the quarter block north of the Foster Drug. This operation did not last too long as it was about that time when the automobile was taking the place of the horse. Farther down Seventh Street, in the 600 block, Lee Chandler built a barn and operated it for several years, and, incidentally this and the Aitchison barn are the only structures still standing that were used as old livery stables. The last barn to be erected was built by Davis & Withrow--still farther north on Seventh street, but on the opposite side of the street. This was known as the "Long Barn". We told you of this barn when it was dismantled in 1955. It was operated by Tom Moore and several others after Withrow & Davis disposed of it.

Besides the Chandler and Aitchison buildings, which are still standing, the only visable evidence of Miles City's livery stable is a small indentation on the west side of South Seventh Street, between the alley and the Montgomery Ward building; this is a rectangular sign, reading "Star Livery Stable" and indicates the point of entrance to the Ben Levalley barn.