Brier Building

631 Main Street


Breier Building   Built 1923


Claus Breier built this structure as the headquarters of his department store chain that at one point had 57 stores throughout the Northwest. The main floor housed his Breier Department Store and later stores such as Sears, Millers, and The Country Store. When it was built, the building was the tallest in Lewiston at five stories. At various times the upper floors housed the offices of the Clearwater Timber Co., Potlatch Forest Products, Inc., the Northern Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad offices as well as other business and professional offices. In the mid-1980s the building was remodeled into an apartment building and still retains its vintage Otis elevator.


Breier c 1944

Circa 1944






The building is remembered as one of the locations in 1928 damaged by a young elephant named Mary that bolted with four others from a circus enclosure along Snake River Avenue. She pushed through two plate glass windows of the Breier Department Store and crushed an expensive pair of scales with her foot. Lewiston’s Mayor Braddock put a stop to her stampede.

The Historic Preservation Commission would like to recognize and thank Steven Branting and the Nez Perce County Historical Society and Museum for the access to and contributions from their extensive archives for this project. Special thanks go to Commissioner Leah Boots for her countless hours of work to make this project a reality.



           This project is supported in part by the Idaho State Historical Society.