Filed Under Montana Tech

Alexander & Agnes Christie House

1308 West Broadway

The Craftsman-style house at 1308 West Broadway was built in the mid-1910s for a very prominent Butte entrepreneur, Alexander S. Christie and his wife Agnes S. Leys Christie. The house remained in the Christie family for decades to come, even as the property became encompassed by the ever-expanding campus and facilities of the Montana School of Mines/Montana Tech.

In 1887, Alexander Christie married Agnes Shephard Leys. In common with her new husband, Agnes’ younger brother, James D. Leys also trained as a jeweler. He joined Alexander in business at his Marion, Kansas jewelry store. In 1888, James Leys left Marion for the mining metropolis of Butte, Montana and started his own business in the manufacture, sale, and repair of jewelry and watches.
James’ Leys Jewelry Store in Butte boomed so fast that in 1891, the Christies joined James in Butte. Within a few years, James and Alexander moved Leys Jewelry Store to one of the most prestigious commercial locations in Butte’s commercial Uptown, a ground floor storefront at the northeast corner of Park and Main. In 1897, James Leys and Alexander Christie expanded into the wholesale jewelry business. Leys moved to New York City to operate the new wholesale outlet, while Christie stayed in Butte to manage their local affairs. By then, in addition to Leys Jewelry Store, the latter included the Christie & Leys Butte Pharmacy, also located at Owsley Block No. 3. Around 1908, Alexander Christie moved Leys Jewelry Store to a smaller brick building just up the street at today’s 20 N. Main St. That signage still marks the building today (2020).
At the time the home was constructed the Christie’s had three children: son Collin, daughter Gladys and son Alexander born in Butte in 1893. Collin Christie eventually took over management of Leys Jewelry Store and operated it until closing the business in 1965. Alex Christie became a rancher, while Gladys studied and worked as an artist.
Both Alexander and Agnes Christie lived here for the remainder of their years. Agnes died in the late 1930s, followed by Alexander in 1948 at the age of 85. Their daughter Gladys then inherited the house. Gladys had come to live with her parents following the untimely death of her husband Howard Parker in 1917. She was pregnant at that time and gave birth to daughter Christie Leys Parker at 1308 West Broadway. In 1973, Gladys deeded 1308 West Broadway to her daughter and son-in-law Charles Reed.
Since their marriage in 1946, Christie and Charles Reed had lived at 1308 West Broadway. Christie Reed held a position as a caseworker with Silver Bow County’s welfare department and, in common with her mother, she was an accomplished artist. Charles Reed became a real estate agent and eventually started his own company, Continental Realty. Christie died in 2001. Four years later, Charles passed away at their 1308 West Broadway home.

Images

Alexander & Agnes Christie House
Alexander & Agnes Christie House Source: Ca. 1959 photo from Tax Appraisal Card, Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives
Untitled Date: October 2020

Location

1308 West Broadway

Metadata

Mary McCormick, “Alexander & Agnes Christie House,” Story of Butte, accessed July 14, 2024, https://storyofbutte.org/items/show/3427.