Take A Walk Through Great Falls History; The Vinegar Jones Cabin
When talking Great Falls history, we hear a whole lot about the Cowboy Artist, Charlie Russell, and the Founder of Great Falls, Paris Gibson. But neither of those men owned the cabin that sits in a place of honor and safety in Gibson Park, Vinegar Jones. What's sad, is the only place on the entire internet that I could get any information about him was one lone website, GreatFallsMontana.net. Lucky for us, they covered the basics on him pretty well.
Who Was Vinegar Jones?
His real name was Whitman Gibson Jones, born in Maine in 1859, and he is first cousin to the founder of Great Falls, Paris Gibson.
In 1880 he went to Fort Assiniboine near Havre. He was going to help build the new military post there. By the fall, he had made his way to Fort Benton. He was hired to lend his woodworking skills to building the Grand Union Hotel. His work is still on display today. It's the lobby counter desk and the front porch.
When did he come to Great Falls
In the fall of 1884 Jones made his way to one of the newest townships in the state, Great Falls. He was instrumental in the very beginning lending his skills to building a flour mill, Townsite office and the very first store in Great Falls. He eventually built and ran a vinegar business in Great Falls. (Some say that's how he got his nickname, some say it's because he had a vinegary personality. Probably both.)
When did he move into the cabin
In 1890, he bought the cabin from Josiah Peeper and moved it across 5th Avenue South. The cabin was built by Peeper and is believed to be the first permanent home built in Great Falls. Jones lived in or rented out the cabin until his death in 1931
History of the cabin
The Vinegar Jones Cabin has been through a lot in it's long life, fires, demolition permits and a lot of sales. In 2001 it was purchased by Mark Blom and Dale Nelson. The city took ownership of the cabin later that year and was moved to it's permanent home, in Gibson Park, in 2002
Take A Tour Of Gibson Park, Home Of The Vinegar Jones Cabin