617 South Fifth Street

Hamilton Southside Residential Historic District

Before homebuyers could secure mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration—a New Deal agency created in 1934 to stimulate the economy and encourage homeownership—private sales were more common. A 1913 newspaper ad defined the purchase terms for this house, “one of the most attractive and modern residences in Hamilton.” The buyer paid the seller $500 cash up front, then $25 a month, “same as rent,” until paying off “the balance, $1500, on long mortgage at 8 per cent.” The eight-room home featured an “open fireplace, cement walks, [and] handsome lawn…a real bargain at this price.” Built at the Craftsman style’s height of popularity, the house possessed many aspects of the style: a low-pitched roof, wide overhanging eaves, exposed rafter tails, prominent dormers, and battered (tapered) columns supporting an open porch. River rocks ornament the base of the porch columns, symbolizing a connection to the natural world. Herbert Weiss, who served as treasurer of the Valley Liquor Co., was an early but brief occupant. Forest Service supervisor John Lowell and his wife Mattie raised two children here in the 1920s.

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617 South Fifth Street, Hamilton, Montana ~ private