Letter to the editor

Thursday, August 18, 2022

I am greatly disappointed in the direction that preservation of the Norton House has taken.

I am reminded of a comment Chief Crazy Horse made: “A people without history is but wind on the buffalo grass.”

Colonel Norton is a part of our heritage— his role in the establishment of Columbus, the chartering of the city of Billings as the County’s Representative in the 14th Territorial and 1st State Legislative Sessions, and as community economic and social leader established him as the backbone of our city.

His achievements are a part of our heritage. The House is a monument of that heritage.

The Norton House is unique. According to my research, it is the only residential building in the Rocky Mountain region to be built using the ‘cavity wall’ construction technique—its exterior walls have four wythes of interlocking masonry with cosmetic damage only to the exterior most wythe. A structural and architectural assessment was made in 2014 by a leading historical preservation team.

The team found that the structure would be able to be reserved with little or no economic impact. I have that assessment available for review by the current decision makers and the architectural firm advising them if they so desire.

Or they may continue to function like ‘wind on the buffalo grass’.

Bill Hagen Columbus