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Home of Montana's Pioneer and
Richard O. Hickman
Carpenter Gothic style trim originally decorated the porch supports of this one-story L-shaped, wood-frame home, making its owners' nostalgia for architecture fashionable in the eastern united States in the 1850s. Margaret Hickman, the wife of merchant and territorial legislator Richard O. Hickman, owned the residence by 1888. Margaret was one of the many nineteenth-century Montana women to own their family home, but female property ownership was not a straightforward reflection of women's economic power. Under certain circumstances, married women's property was protected from their husbands' creditors, and families often used this fact to protect their assets. The Hickman's moved to Helena in 1889 when Richard became the first state lands agent, but the family's connections to Virginia City remained strong. After daughter Gertrude married William Thompson, son of another Virginia City pioneer family, the couple moved to New York. However, they remembered their hometown, donating funds to build the Thompson-Hickman Memorial Library, now also a museum.