Stores, warehouses and homes belonging to Montana's greatest trading company were along this side street. Founded in 1866, I.G. Baker Co.'s freight wagons cut deep trails into western history. From northern Canada along routes in all directions, the I.G. Baker Co. was the giant among mercantile businesses.
Run by the Conrad brothers, the company went into banking, transportation and distilleries. Indians trapped for them on the Great Slave Lake, miners and Indians guzzled their booze, and all bought staples from their stories. They were paymasters for the Mounties, ran their own steamboat line, and peddled their goods for buffalo robes, wolf skins and gold dust.
The I.G. Baker firm carried so much weight in the North that when the Hudson Bay Co. bought Baker's Canadian stores in 1891, a Bay Co. director drank a gleeful toast to the end of a firm that "cut our dividends from pounds to shillings."