In 1892, a year after the Great Northern Railway founded the city of Kalispell, a stone foundation was laid on the corner of 2nd St. E and 1st Ave E, and it would soon be known as the KM building (KM stands for Kalispell Mercantile). However, construction on the building was stalled most likely due to the national, economic depression known as the Panic of 1893. In 1894, maps show the building was still in progress with plans to build stores on the first floor and a lodge on the second floor. The KM building was indeed finished in 1894, as records show that the Flathead County rented the second flood of the building between 1895 and 1903, while they were waiting for progress to be made on the courthouse. It actually took the new Flathead County, which was formed through the breakup of the original Missoula County into smaller and more governable areas, seven years to float the bond to build the courthouse that is now standing in the middle of Main St., hence their need for the KM Building. Subsequently, the first floor was used for the Missoula Mercantile which was one of the largest retail and wholesale operations between Seattle and Minneapolis. They sold everything from groceries to wagons. If dining in the now Split Rock Café, you will see historical pictures of what used to be the Missoula Mercantile. Then, in 1911, the retailer finally became the Kalispell Mercantile, which housed various departments such as agricultural implements, plumbing, grocery, and glassware. The Kalispell Mercantile was in business for just over 85 years before entrepreneur Bill Goodman bought the building in 1997 he still owns it to this day. After Goodman bought the building in 1997, many businesses have moved into the building to do their business under the roof of history. Businesses including investment firms, chiropractors, hair stylists, a boutique gift shop, an art gallery/studio, and restaurants. In 2005, Goodman opened a restaurant called Red’s Wines and Blues, which remained open as a sports bar until it closed four years later in 2009. His restaurant was then replaced with Split Rock Café.
When you step into Split Rock Café, you will feel the history hit you as you see old pictures of the Kalispell Mercantile as well as the original ladder used for stocking shelves when it was once a shopping store. Enjoy lovely food and delicious espresso beverages while you ponder the history of the building all the while enjoying our original and authentic white decorative ceiling, brick walls, wood floors, pane glass art, chandeliers, and beautiful back bar. We highly encourage you to walk around and experience even more history by looking at the many pictures outside the restaurant in the long, classy hallways of the KM building. Here at Split Rock, we are proud to work in a building full of so much history. It fills the building with meaning and purpose, and it is a joy to share that with our customers.