Marcus Lissner: Early Jewish Pioneer Water Merchant and Hotel Owner of Helena, Montana

Marcus Lissner

Values Codes I – E – L


Marcus Lissner was born in 1834 in Prussia.

In 1851, he came to America, where he joined his older brother in Georgia.


Along the way . . . .

In the 1860s, Marcus Lissner decided to leave the South because of the impending Civil War.

He headed West to California by way of Panama.

Lissner  worked as a miner in California and Nevada.

Then, in 1864, he settled in Alder Gulch, Montana Territory.

Adler Gulch, Montana, 1860’s

Helena, Montana

With the gold that he mined in Alder Gulch, Marcus Lissner settled in Helena, Montana where he built the International Hotel, located at State and Main Streets.

Lissner entered into a brief partnership with Max Sklower, who went on to own other hotels.

The International Hotel caught fire and was rebuilt in 1869, 1873, and 1874. It was nicknamed the “Phoenix” for continually rising from the ashes.

In addition to the hotel, Marcus Lissner founded the Lissner Bottling Works,  which bottled and delivered water from a spring located on their property.



Marcus Lissner served as Alderman of Helena’s First Ward for 18 years.



In 1875, Lissner married Jennie Sabolsky (1859-1918), daughter of dry goods merchant, Wolf Sabolsky.

They had nine children, including James, Yetta (1878-1975), and Bernice (1897-1987).

The Lissners lived at 315 East State.

Their son, James Lissner, ran the liquor store at the International Hotel.

Later, James served one term in the Montana State Legislature representing Lewis and Clark County.


Marcus Lissner died in 1902.

Jennie Sabolsky died in 1918.

They are buried next to each other at the Home of Peace Cemetery in Helena, Montana.



Samantha Silver is our curator for this Marcus Lissner exhibit.