Of Montana’s many, many historic businesses, the Polebridge Mercantile may be among the most photographed. With its decorative pressed metal siding and false front façade adorned with large, Western lettering, the mercantile’s old- fashioned appearance makes for a great photo op.
Beyond its unique exterior, the Polebridge Mercantile has operated continuously since its establishment in 1914. Opened just four years after Glacier National Park (which lies to the east), the store was originally called Adair’s, after its owner, W.L. Adair. Another gentleman, Ben Henson Sr., believed Adair’s prices to be too steep, and so he opened his own store, called Polebridge, a half-mile to the north. Polebridge was awarded a post office contract in the 1920s, but when the Depression hit, Henson closed his business and the post office was moved to Adair’s, where it remained until the office’s closure in 2001.
To this day, visitors stop in for delectable baked goods, huckleberry products, and other merchandise. Tourists enjoy purchasing clothing and souvenirs, and of course, snapping a few photos of the building, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places under the W. L. Adair General Mercantile Historic District in 1986.