The center of the Bitterroot Valley in more ways than one
Marcus Daly Needed a Town, So He Built One
The Bitterroot Valley had not only become a key source of lumber for his rapidly growing Anaconda copper mine in Butte, but it had also become his summer home with his newly acquired 22,000 acre property.
Daly’s thoroughbred horse breeding and horse racing ambitions were playing out on a national level, and the Bitterroot Valley was where he raised and trained his stock.
Marcus Daly needed a town to support his timber and horse racing enterprises, and all the people involved in both.
So, he hired a couple of experts from Minnesota, and together, they created Hamilton, MT.
And for that, we’re forever grateful.
Hamilton, MT Location
Hamilton is located in Ravalli County, Montana.
The community is located in the geographic center of the scenic Bitterroot Valley.
US 93 connects Hamilton to Victor, and Hamilton to Darby.
The Eastside Highway connects Hamilton to Corvallis
According to Wikipedia, the population of Hamilton was 4,659 in the 2020 Census.
This total includes residents living within a 2.6 square mile area surrounding Hamilton town.
Our Bitterroot Valley population article reports 13,966 residents living in the Hamilton community.
This total includes everyone living within the 59840 Zip Code that serves Hamilton residents.
Local Services in Hamilton
The City of Hamilton provides a wide variety of municipal services and public works.
Hamilton is home to Hamilton School District #3. The District enrolls around 1,500 students per year in grades K-12. Their team name is the “Broncs”.
Bitterroot College University of Montana offers college, workforce training, and continuing education courses in Hamilton.
Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department provides fire and EMS services
The historic Bitterroot Public Library has been operating in its current location since 1916.
Several businesses, including retail, banking, health care, restaurants, gas and groceries are located in the Hamilton community.
Hamilton, MT Timeline
Lewis and Clark traveled through the area on their epic journey in 1805 and 1806.
Marcus Daly began purchasing property near what’s now Hamilton in 1886. He added his 22,000 acre summer home named ‘Riverside’ in 1887.
James Hamilton and Robert O’Hara arrived from Minnesota in 1890 to assist Marcus Daly in planning and developing the town of Hamilton, MT.
Hamilton was founded on September 4th, 1890. The town was named after James Hamilton.
Ravalli County was established in 1893.
Hamilton was incorporated in 1894 and Robert O’Hara became the town’s first Mayor.
Marcus Daly hosted the first Ravalli County Fair in Hamilton in 1894.
Hamilton became the Ravalli County seat in 1898.
Hamilton residents learned of Marcus Daly’s death in New York City on November 13, 1900.
Scientific experiments began in the area in 1902 to find the cause of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
An apple orchard boom began in 1909 after heavy promotion by Minneapolis land speculators. The apple boom died out in 1912 resulting in many leaving the area for good.
The Big Ditch irrigation network went into bankruptcy in 1916.
The Rocky Mountain Laboratory was established in 1927 to research the cause of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Margaret Daly dedicated $250,000 to build a hospital in memory of her husband, and to the citizens of Hamilton and the Bitterroot Valley. Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital opened in 1931.
The massive 350,000 acre Bitterroot Valley wildfires of 2000 drew national attention to Hamilton.
Points of Interest in Hamilton
The Ravalli County Museum & Historical Society was established in 1955 and houses important history and artwork from Ravalli County’s past.
The historic 25 bedroom Marcus Daly Mansion is a popular attraction for visitors and residents.
The Ravalli County Fairgrounds plays host to many events each year, including the Ravalli County Fair.
The Saturday morning Hamilton Farmers Market is a favorite activity all summer long.
That’s a Good Question
4,659 residents live in the city of Hamilton. An estimated 13,966 residents live in the 59840 Zip Code.