Since its opening in 1900, Fishtail General Store has been operating in the same location in Fishtail, Montana. This photo of Fishtail was taken just after the 4th of July in 1910. The old Ford sits in front of the store and across the street, a horse is tied to a hitching rail outside Jewett’s Saloon and Dance Hall.
During those early days, it would have been difficult for communities to have survived without their general mercantile stores. The local mercantile store was where folks went for almost everything they needed – food staples like flour and sugar; meat (which was butchered right there in the store); clothing, shoes, hardware, housewares, feed for your animals and on and on.
The old general stores were a central meeting or gathering place, another important function became that of communication – a means of staying in touch with your friends and neighbors and keeping up with the local news. In those early days, The Fishtail General Store was also the U.S. Post office.
The store changed hands several times down through the years, but has remained in the same location. Bill and Katy Martin fell in love with the old store and became the new owners in 2000.
Today, reflections of the past continue to be dominant throughout the Fishtail General Store. Antiques are scattered all through the store; the original, wood-burning, pot belly stove is still keeping the place warm; some of the original oak cases continue their use in displaying merchandise; and remnants of the old meat counter remain as well.
Many necessary renovations have been completed since the Martin’s bought the store, always working to enhance the look and feel of “the old general store.” The old tin roof was replaced with a new one; the old pine floors were replaced with new oak floors; floor-to-ceiling maple shelves were reconstructed, complete with rolling ladders for high reaches.
Your first step into The Fishtail General Store becomes a wonderful step back into time!