The Mansion is a state-owned property managed by the Daly Mansion Preservation Trust in partnership with The University of Montana.
Looking for more information? Visit the map for spectacular 360 degree views and interesting facts about many rooms.
When Marcus and Margaret Daly bought the property in 1886, there was a two story farmhouse built by the Chaffin family on it. They immediately began to remodel and by 1889 there was a Victorian home standing here. They named it Riverside. Mrs. Daly had bigger ideas however, and, as the story goes, in 1895 had some new plans drawn up. Her husband approved them before going on an extended business trip but apparently did not see the elevations. When he turned down the driveway what he saw was a Queen Anne home complete with cranberry glass windows. He gasped and exclaimed to his lawyer, "My God! The woman wants me to live in a church!" They immediately began discussing one more remodel. Unfortunately, Mr. Daly became ill and died in 1900, before the dream could happen. Years later Mrs. Daly decided to go forward with the idea. She hired A.J. Gibson to draw up plans for the house in 1906, the remodel was begun in 1909 and by 1910 the Georgian Revival Style home was complete.
The 24,000 square foot home has beautiful features such as seven fireplaces, five of which are hand sculpted marble. The white woodwork sets off magnificent mahogany doors. The wall coverings are all original and range in materials from silk to grass to hand-painted paper. Most all of the draperies and carpets are original. The majority of the floors are quarter sawn oak parquet. All the wall sconces are original. There are 25 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, 3 dining rooms and a gothic style trophy room. Though unrestored at this point, Riverside still reflects the opulence of the day. It is a tribute to Mrs. Daly's vision and the love she had for her husband and her family.
- Reception Hall/Foyer
- Music Room
- Living Room
- Sun Porch
- Trophy Room
- Dining Room
- Butler's Pantry
- Servant's Dining Room
- Pastry Kitchen
- The Murray Suite
- Service Closet
- Blue Room
- Yellow Room
- Green Room
- Growth Chart Door
- Sitting Room
- Gerard Suite
- Marcus Bedroom
- Mrs. Daly's Bedroom
- Evans Suite
- Mr. Daly's Office
- Children's Dining Room/Morning Room
The guest entrance to the house, the foyer walls are covered with French silk damask set out ¼" on the stretcher boards, making the room acoustically correct. All the doors in this room are solid mahogany, as are the dark wood strips on the outer edges of the quarter sawn oak parquet floor. The gold marble on the face of the fireplace is an extinct South American marble called Ventrinea. The white sculpted marble on this and the other four fireplaces in the home is Carrera marble, the same type of marble Michelangelo used to sculpt David. The photos on the south wall are of the Chaffin farmouse that was here when the Daly's purchased the property in 1886 and of the subsequent remodels.
The music room walls are covered with French silk damask, like those in the reception hall/foyer. The window valances, floor lamp and table lamp are painted with 14 karat gold paint. These original lamps have French silk shades with Austrian glass beading. The green couch and mirror are also original to this room.
This spacious room is larger than was typical of the time period. However, because Mrs. Daly entertained a great deal and preferred to do so on the first floor, this room, with the adjoining music room, was perfect for that purpose. Henry Cross, an artist famous for painting P.T. Barnum's circus wagons and then coming west to paint Native Americans, did the large painting on the north wall. The Daly family genealogy sits on the piano. The ceiling is a Celtic Baroque style and is made of plaster with horse hair. The wall covering is grass cloth.
A favorite of Mrs. Daly's, this room still contains the original porch swing and table and chair set. The Victorian arbor that leads to the Plunge was rebuilt in 2000 by the Montana Federation of Garden Clubs. Mr. Daly's cutter sleigh and the Harley Davidson bicycle are also original.
This room was added in 1914 at the request of Marcus Daly II to house his impressive collection of hunting trophies. Notice that the quarter sawn oak wainscoting replicates the patterns of exotic animal hides. The throne chair is hand carved by monks and used in European churches.
Mrs. Daly's Adams style dining room set is made of solid mahogany. It includes the table with eight leaves, 14 chairs, the sideboard, the buffet and the breakfront. The original chandelier is 3-tiered Austrian crystal chandelier in an amber color. It now hangs in the dining room of the home Marcus Daly III was living in when Mrs. Daly died.
The jigsaw puzzle tile floor is made of rubber composite. The cabinet doors have fret work encased in two sheets of glass for easy cleaning. Mrs. Daly's butler, Cutler, and his wife Catherine worked in this room serving to either the formal dining room or the children's dining room.
As you enter the kitchen, on the right at eye level you will see a butler's call box. The room bells attached to it are now disconnected. The kitchen was once the living room in the Chaffin farmhouse. The large cook stove used either coal or wood. The maple cabinets were installed in 1926. The small room on the far side of the kitchen is the vegetable pantry where the produce was cleaned and prepared.
Believed to be the family dining room in the Victorian home, this became the servant's dining room in this final remodel. The wainscoting is cherrywood. The servants ate the same foods as the family and guests. The woven grass carpet and the buffet are original to the home.
The large side-by-side Seeger Refrigerator unit in this room was actually cooled with ice. The 500 pounds of ice used were loaded into the top with ropes and pulleys through an outside door. The ice was cut at the mill pond, hauled by wagon and stored in sawdust in the icehouse. One side of the refrigerator was used for dairy and pastries and the other for meat and produce.
This room was named for Mrs. Daly's physician and his family who would come from Butte for frequent visits. These rooms now house the horse collection of Margit Sigray Bessenyey, Mr. and Mrs. Daly's granddaughter who shared his love of horses. The larger room is a tribute to her beloved Hungarian warmblood horses and her tireless passion to promote them. The smaller of these two rooms is dedicated to the Competitive Trail Ride Margit organized and sponsored.
The room was used by the upstairs maid to store cleaning supplies and for arranging flowers. Mrs. Daly liked fresh flowers in all the guest rooms that had visitors.
Young children stayed in this room with their nanny while visiting Riverside . The child's bed in the far corner is a Jack-Be-Nimble bed. It and the crib are original to the room. The wall coverings are hand painted.
Named for the predominant color of the room, this bedroom was used for guests. The dressers in this room were originally painted white, but later were stripped and found to curly or tiger maple.
This room was Marcus Daly III's when he came to live with his grandmother after his father died. He was 10 and she was 77 years old.
The bathtub is missing in this room because Margit gifted a retiring employee with it.
The green room was occupied by Miss Sharkey, Marcus III's nanny who was later his cook and housekeeper in Missoula.
This door has significant historical value in that it was the proof point in a 1942 inheritance tax battle between the state of New York and the Daly heirs. The family paid the inheritance tax to the state of Montana after taking this door to court to prove residency by the growth chart.
This sitting room was used by Mrs. Daly in the evening to read to the children before bedtime. The charcoal portraits were done by the Daly's granddaughter, Frances Carroll Brown, of some of the workers at the Daly estate.
The gray room was used by Mrs. Daly's son-in-law, James Watson Gerard. At one time he commented that he would much prefer a shower to a bath, so Mrs. Daly had the only shower in the house installed in his bathroom. Note the double sink in the connecting bathroom. Molly Daly Gerard used the second bedroom in this suite. The fainting couch is unique in that both ends are adjustable.
The master bedroom was stayed in by Marcus II and III. The macramé coverlet and pillow shams were knotted by a prisoner in the Montana State Prison. The fireplaces in the master bedrooms are carved hardwood.
Mrs. Daly's bed and dresser set were a gift to her from her husband in 1880. It was imported from Europe and is made of carved walnut burl and is the only set like it in the world. The "Four Margaret" chaise lounge was owned by Mrs. Daly's mother, Mrs. Daly, her daughter and her granddaughter, all named Margaret and shown in the photo. Mrs. Daly's hanging bathroom, which is over the sun porch, settled during the 45 years the home was not occupied. It is the source of a great deal of the water damage to the house.
The first room of the Evans suite is the companion room. These rooms were built on the first floor by Mrs. Daly for her semi-invalid sister, Martha Evans, who is believed to have had polio. Miss Evans always traveled with a traveling companion. The rocker in the corner is a Hunzinger Lollipop chair.
Convenient to the north door entrance, Mr. Daly's office contains an original bookcase, lounge, jockey silks, and Mrs. Daly's sidesaddle. Note the glass case with Mrs. Daly's guest registry and a business ledger.
This dining room was set for children who, until age 18, did not eat in the formal dining room. Their governesses and nannies accompanied them and taught them proper dining manners. This was also known as the Morning Room, where you could have breakfast if you opted not to have it in bed. This is an example of hand painted wallpaper, signed and dated by the artist in 1926.