Bale of Hay Saloon
Montana's Oldest Watering Hole!
The Smith & Boyd Saloon and Livery Stable are today
The Bale of Hay Saloon and Virginia City Opera House!
Bale of Hay Saloon Timeline:
1869 - 1890: The J.F. Stoer Saloon run by Henry Schwenk
1888: J.F. Stoer sold the building to Henry Werken
1890's - 1908: Smith & Boyd took over the building. Since they owned the livery stable next door to the west, they named their saloon "The Bale of Hay."
1908 - 1946: The building sat vacant
1946 - 1997: Charlie Bovey acquired The Bale of Hay Saloon, along with numerous other buildings in Virginia City and Nevada City. He added the front porch onto the building and reopened it as a functioning saloon.
1997 - Present: The building is now owned by the Montana Heritage Commission and has been run by various individuals every summer.
Fire at the Bale of Hay Saloon!
In 1983, a fire broke out in the back of the saloon. Firefighters from Virginia City, Sheridan, and Alder were able to contain the fire to the rear of the building. The floor and the walls remained relatively undamaged but the roof was destroyed. In order to reopen the Bale, the building had to meet with current building codes, leading to a new structure with a 4 foot deep concrete foundation, and new stud walls with sheetrock, to be built inside of the old shell. A tin ceiling was added inside, which came out of the Mint Saloon in Great Falls, Montana. The front and exterior of the building are still completely original!