Hamilton Commercial Historic District
A native of Manchester, England, Wynne Roberts came to Hamilton in 1892. He opened a book and stationery store with only $300 in capital and conducted more than $9,000 worth of business his first year selling fruit, crockery, and wallpaper in addition to books. Wynne and his wife Sophie built this brick business block in 1894; they lived above the bookstore with their six children. The solid building reflected the Roberts’ ambitions for both their store and the young town of Hamilton, then only four years old with dirt streets and wooden sidewalks. Particularly notable is the building’s elaborate metal cornice. Prefabricated metal cornices were relatively inexpensive substitutes for carved stone or wood. They were readily available through mail order catalogs and easily transportable by rail, allowing even small towns to participate in big city fashions. In 1900, the Robertses constructed the building next door, where they moved their business. The Ravalli Republican newspaper purchased the building in 1922. It has published from this location ever since, changing its name to the Ravalli Republic in 1973.