Hamilton Commercial Historic District
Walter Fox sold meat from a one-story, wooden building on this site in 1893. An 1896 expansion added an icehouse, and the building, later occupied by a confectionery and fruit stand, still stood in 1909. Not long afterward, M. L. Kelley purchased the lot to construct this brick building, where he opened a billiard hall. Joseph Haigh ran the business as the Owl Pool Room in 1915. After Haigh moved to South Second Street, the establishment became the Rainbow Bar. Later remodels significantly changed the façade, but the interior still boasts a pressed metal ceiling and an oak back bar. Decorative, durable, and fire resistant, metal ceilings proved popular from the 1890s through the 1920s. Because their heyday coincided with a period of growth for Montana’s historic downtowns—including Hamilton’s—metal ceilings ornament businesses across the state. The back bar is decorated with stain glass panels featuring stylized branches laden with apples. The reference, of course, is to the apple boom, at its height when a recreational establishment originally opened here.