by Richard I. Gibson
Annie and Katie Nesbitt, sisters, opened the Mikado Dining Hall on October 1, 1894, in the Barnard Block at 15 West Granite Street. They had been in the restaurant business for at least a few years—in 1892 Annie managed and Katie was a waitress at a café at 45 West Granite. Prior to that, they were reportedly “engaged in conducting fashionable boarding places.”
The eastern store front of the Barnard Block, on the site where the Montana Standard is located today, was part of a large 2-story building that was nearly destroyed in the fire of September 29, 1889. Although heavily damaged in the fire that began across the street, and although reports of the day indicated it burned to the ground, it appears from the Sanborn maps that the basic structure survived and a third story was added during the restoration. The 3-story Barnard Block stood here until the middle 1950s when another fire consumed it, and the present 2-story Montana Standard building was erected.
By 1910 the sisters had moved the Mikado a few doors west, to 41 West Granite, and their original restaurant in the Barnard Block was occupied by Peter Barrenstein’s saloon. Various stores occupied the space until the fire in the 1950s.
New construction about 1917 eliminated the building at 41 W. Granite, and by 1918 the Mikado no longer existed and the Nesbitt sisters appear to be gone from Butte.
Resources: Butte Bystander, special edition, April 15, 1897 (photo) in Gibson’s collection; city directories; Sanborn maps.