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.

Images

Ward Hotel
Ward Hotel Ward Hotel (PAc 91-51 Thompson Falls R01 F11). Front view of the building, facing west to southwest on West Main Street. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Oct. 1984
Ward Hotel
Ward Hotel Ward Hotel (PAc 91-51 Thompson Falls R01 F12). Front to side view of the building, facing southeast at the intersection of West Main Street and Fulton Street. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Oct. 1984
Ward Hotel
Ward Hotel Ward Hotel. Front to side view of the building, facing south to southeast on West Main Street near the intersection of West Main and Fulton Street. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Joe Furshong Date: Date unknown
Ward Hotel
Ward Hotel Ward Hotel. Side view of the building, facing east on Fulton Street near the intersection of Fulton and West Main Street. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Joe Furshong Date: Date unknown
Ward Hotel
Ward Hotel Ward Hotel. Close view of the front of the building, facing south on West Main Street. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Joe Furshong Date: Date unknown

Location

925 West Main Street, Thompson Falls, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Ward Hotel,” Historic Montana, accessed April 14, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/1852.