This year’s city Christmas ornament is now available

This year’s official City of Great Falls ornament is now available.

The ornament features the Fort Shaw Regimental Commander’s Quarters, in honor of the structure’s 150th anniversary this year.

Fort Shaw was built in 1867 as a military post and provided protection for settlers bound for gold mining camps in the Montana Territory.

The commander’s quarters is the most historic building standing in the Fort Shaw Historic District and Cemetery, according to the Great Falls-Cascade County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission. The original porch with wooden support columns is still in place.

Four famed infantry regiments and their commanders were stationed at Fort Shaw from 1867 until the post closed in 1891: the 13th U.S. Infantry under Col. P.R. De Trobriand; the 7th Infantry under Col. John Gibbon; the 3rd Infantry under Col. John R. Brooke; and the 25th Infantry under Lt. Col. J.J. Van Horne. These units were involved in every major military campaign during Montana’s Indian Wars, according to HPAC.

The city always uses a local designer and the ornament is made of pewter by Cordsden Design Studio out of Fort Collins, Colo., said Tom Micuda, the city’s deputy planning director.

This year, 300 ornaments have been made and are numbered 1-300. Micuda said people request specific numbers as long as they are available.

The ornaments are $15 each and can be purchased at the city planning office in the Civic Center, the Great Falls Public Library, The History Museum, the Cascade library, Gallery 16 and at special events like the Christmas Stroll.

Micuda said previous year’s ornaments are still available and can be purchased by calling the planning office at 455-8432.

Proceeds from the sale go to the Great Falls-Cascade County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission to be used for preservation education programs, such as downtown revitalization workshops, production of the popular walking tour brochures, preservation awards and matching funds for grants.

The first ornament, in 2008, featured the Civic Center and marked the 75th anniversary of the New Deal, of which the Civic Center was a project. Since then, ornaments have celebrated the Vinegar Jones Cabin, Great Falls’ first permanent residence; the Great Northern Depot, now Energy West; the Ursuline Centre; Great Falls High School; Paris Gibson Square; the Charles M. Russell Studio and the Masonic Temple.