06 July 2009
The Official Christmas Ornament for 2009 for the city of Great Falls has been selected. In honor of the 125th anniversary of the founding of Great Falls, the ornament will feature The Vinegar Jones Cabin. This little 14 x 20 foot cabin was built at 501 5th Avenue South in the Spring of 1884, the first year of the Great Falls townsite. The builder was Fort Benton carpenter Josiah Peeper. In 1890 Whitman Gibson "Vinegar" Jones bought the Cabin and moved it across the avenue to 516 5th Avenue South. Until his death in 1931, Vinegar Jones carefully maintained the Cabin, taking pride in the fact that this was the first permanent structure built on the Great Falls townsite.
In 2002 the Great Falls/Cascade County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission took over care of the Cabin for the people of Great Falls. This first permanent home in Great Falls, and the only building remaining from 1884, the first year of the townsite, now stands in a place of honor in the city's premier park, Gibson Park.
The 2009 Christmas Ornament will be available for sale at $15 at the City Planning Office on the lower level of the Great Falls Civic Center. The ornaments, designed by Great Falls artist Sheree Nelson, are numbered, for example, #1 of 750. Just 750 are available and are expected to sell quickly. All money raised from sales will be used for historic preservation in Great Falls and Cascade County, Montana.