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Historic home for sale in renowned Billings neighborhood

By Russ Riesinger,


BILLINGS - It’s a house full of history in a Billings neighborhood known for its historic homes. The asking price for the Fratt-Link house on Clark Avenue has been reduced to $1.2 million which, considering its size, could be one of the best deals per square foot in town.

“It’s a unique home, which means that we have to have the unique person that may want to buy this home,” says Dana Wagenhals, a broker with the Real Estate Hub.

The home has been vacant for about two years and had been listed at $1.5 million.

“It seems unbelievable that a home that was built in the 1800s has only had five owners. Blows me away,” says Wagenhals.

Wagenhals and fellow broker Della Garner have been trying to find the sixth owner for the home, advertising in specialty magazines and sites that cater to old homes.

The home has attracted a lot of attention—a lot of it from people who just want to come inside and see it.

“Absolutely someone has to be in love with the Victorian charm,” says Gardner.

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The three-story Victorian is big enough that you could almost get lost in it. It’s over 7,000 square feet with five bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, a ballroom, parlors, rec rooms, and a four-car garage, sitting on four city lots.

Few homes still standing in Billings have a history like this one. The Fratt-Link House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

It was originally owned by David and Kate Fratt. The Fratts, according to the Montana Historical Society, were among Billings most progressive citizens and generous philanthropists.

Western Heritage Center

And another interesting fact: It hasn’t always been at this location.

“It was cut in two pieces and moved by mule train from downtown Billings in 1922,” says Gardner.

John Link took ownership of the house after the Fratts both died, leaving behind money to construct a commercial block honoring David Fratt on the downtown block, where the house had stood about a half mile east of where it is now.

Link was a renowned architect who designed St. Patrick's Co-Cathedral and also one of the additions to the Montana Capitol as well as several of the homes on Clark Avenue.

The Link family lived in the house until the late 1980s.

If you are into old houses, you would be hard-pressed to find one in better shape than this one. In the year 2000, it underwent a huge remodeling project at a cost of over $1 million.

“it was remodeled down to the studs—completely modernized with plumbing, electrical, new insulation, sheetrock instead of plaster, air conditioning. So it has all the modern amenities with all the historical charm still,” says Gardner.

“It’s the history behind it. To have it on the historic journals and being part of the history of Billings and Montana from the original owners to you could be the sixth owner of this home,” says Wagenhals.

All for a cost of just about $168 a square foot.

Click here to see the listing .

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