(HELENA) Several hundred people stepped 100 years back in time Friday, by paying a visit to Montana’s Original Governor’s Mansion in Helena.
The Montana Historical Society offered free tours of the mansion on the day after Thanksgiving. Currently, the 20-room home is decorated not only for the upcoming holiday season, but to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I.
The interpreters currently have the mansion configured as it would have been in 1917 and 1918, when Gov. Sam Stewart lived there, along with his wife, three daughters and other extended family members. Exhibits around the building are based on remembrances from the Stewart daughters. They show off the ways people on the home front helped the war effort as soldiers fought in Europe.
“We were mini-factories in our home,” said Bobi Harris, a historic interpreter at the mansion. “There were things for the waiting women and children to do as well, and so throughout the mansion are examples of the work that they were doing to support the Red Cross and our Yankees.”
One important piece of work was knitting socks, blankets and other items for soldiers at the front. Harris said the Historical Society worked with groups like Helena’s Knitters for Peace to put together examples of what those objects would have looked like.
Harris said these World War I exhibits will remain in the mansion until 2019 – 100 years after the last U.S. troops returned home.
The Original Governor’s Mansion will be open for tours Saturday afternoons at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. throughout the winter.