Ravalli County Museum & Historical Society
Backstory and Context
Ravalli County was established in 1893 but the county seat was initially located at the town of Stevensville. However, an election was held in 1898 and voters chose Hamilton to be the county seat. Irish immigrant Marcus Daly founded Hamilton in 1890. He owned the highly successful Anaconda Copper Mining Company and owned a large, 22,000-acre stock farm in the valley, where he raised racing horses. He established the town next to the Northern Pacific Railway line and promoted competition among local business, which created a healthy local economy. As a result, by 1900 Hamilton became an important economic center and a suitable location for the county seat. It is named after James Hamilton, Daly's employee who surveyed the town's first plats. It appears that the museum opened in the courthouse shortly after government functions moved elsewhere in 1974.
"About Hamilton." HamiltonMontana.com. Accessed June 3, 2020. http://hamiltonmontana.com.
Que, Frederic L. et al. "Ravalli County Courthouse." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. April 20, 1979. https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/834319b3-d8b8-46b2-a8b1-e5914b5502b7.
"Artifact Collection." Ravalli County Museum & Historical Society. Accessed June 3, 2020. https://ravallimuseum.org/collections-archives.
Jon Roanhaus, via Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ravalli_County_Courthouse_NRHP_79001424_Ravalli_County,_MT.jpg