Stonehouse in Reeder's Alley – Helena, Montana - Atlas Obscura

Stonehouse in Reeder's Alley

One home in the historic strip hides secret compartments and the ghostly songs of long-gone canaries. 


Strolling along Reeder’s Alley, the oldest intact strip of Helena, Montana, is like stepping back in time. The street is lined with charming brick buildings once home to the miners who settled the area in the late 19th century.

In the early 1900s, Laura and George Duchesnay bought one of the quaint stone buildings at the top of the street. Laura had a particular love for animals and took to filling their home with the singing, sunshine-colored canaries she raised.

These birds did more than delight local children with their beautiful yellow feathers and happy chirps. During Prohibition, Laura would hang some of her canary cages outside the house to let people know a new, secret shipment of booze had arrived.

According to some, the birds’ sweet songs continued to fill the home years after Laura’s death. After the house became a restaurant, a few visitors reported hearing their ghostly trills softly echoing through the air.

The mysterious bird songs aren’t the only secret this historic house has been hiding. During renovation work in 2008, people discovered a pair of 5-foot-deep pits concealed beneath the floor of the former Stonehouse Restaurant. It’s likely these forgotten rooms were where the shipments of banned alcohol were tucked away from any prying police eyes.

Know Before You Go

Stonehouse Restaurant is permanently closed, but the historic building can be seen in Reeder's Alley.

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