The biggest house in Montana? Maybe…


Flathead Beacon photo

Robert E. Lee’s imposing residence, Cromwell Island, Flathead Lake.

This story includes an important update. See below.

The Missoulian recently reported that a house for sale on Shelter Island on Flathead Lake is the “largest and most expensive private home in Montana.”

Is that true? I used to spend a lot of time at my wife’s brother’s place near Big Arm, opposite Cromwell Island, which is across a channel from Flathead’s most famous island, Wild Horse.

For years, we watched as the late Robert E. Lee (actual name!) built a mansion so huge and imposing and that my brother-in-law regularly referred to it as “The Guns of Navarone” (named for the giant German fortress featured in that movie).

The Missoulian story says the Shelter Island mansion has 22,000 square feet. That’s big, no doubt, but this site says Robert E. Lee’s mansion has 30,000 square feet. If anybody knows the best way of confirming these figures, and determining which house is indeed the biggest in Montana, let us know. I’m too busy to look into it any further.

Wait a minute. Half an hour after I posted this, it occurred to me: I’ve written about the biggest house in Yellowstone County, and after reviewing that story I see that it is supposed to be 26,000 square feet.

So maybe the house on Shelter Island isn’t even the second-biggest house in Montana. Heck, it’s getting so small I ought to buy it.

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