The Western Heritage Center was built in 1901 as the Parmly Billings Memorial Library. Parmly Billings, the son of railroad magnate Frederick Billings, had been sent to Montana to look after his father’s business interests in Billings. When he died unexpectedly at the age of 25, his family donated the building that became the young city’s first public library. The library eventually moved to a new building and in 1971 the old building became the Western Heritage Center, specializing in the history of the Yellowstone River Valley.
Many libraries are haunted, and the old library is no exception. Reports of paranormal activity date back to the 1970s and include doors closing by themselves, the apparition of an elderly woman wearing World War I-era clothing, and a child’s bare footprints in the dust of the attic. The staff have named the child ghost “Priscilla.” Although she has never been seen, she likes to play tricks on the staff. At Halloween, she can sometimes be glimpsed (courtesy of the staff) in a window above the main door.
Like to read more about the Western Heritage Center? The full story’s in Haunted Montana: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Haunted Places You Can Visit, available at www.amazon.com and at most bookstores.