Edward Donlan, who built this building as the Ward Hotel in 1907-1908, was significant in Thompson Falls’ history. At age twelve, the Canadian boy of Irish descent left home and went to work. Laying track south of Neihart brought him to Montana, where by 1895 he owned a saw mill in the timber camps. In the early 1900s, he extended his holdings here, with vast tracts to the west and east of town, and many town lots. He also started the Thompson Falls Mercantile Company. Politics was a second love for Donlan, elected state senator in 1902, 1906, 1910, and 1918. In his 1908 bid for governor, he lost by only 2,000 votes. He heartily joined the battle to make Thompson Falls the county seat of Sanders County, and saw a boom period ushered in with that victory. He interested investors in the Thompson Falls Power Company—owning himself several small dams on the Clark’s Fork River. In 1913-1914, he moved on to Milltown and sold much of his property here. His fortune dissipated, Donlan died in 1952.