Filed Under Hamilton

Louis Peterson Home

Hamilton Southside Residential Historic District

Swedish immigrant Louis Peterson—regarded as one of Hamilton’s foremost businessmen and developers—built this Vernacular style cottage circa 1896, living here until his death in 1937. The house likely began as a gable front and wing cottage, but over the years Louis made multiple improvements, adding four gabled additions and an open porch with Doric columns. He owned the Hotel Hamilton, Scandia Saloon, ice houses, and co-owned the European Hotel with twin brother Andrew. Louis served on the First National Bank board and spent nearly two decades as an alderman. He worked to improve public spaces and fought liquor restrictions—a defining issue in local politics. When Ravalli became Montana’s first dry county in 1904, Louis and other saloon owners tested the law’s effectiveness. Once arrested and tried, they immediately appealed to higher courts. By November 1905, The Western News claimed prohibition had cost the county over $25,000, and voters soon repealed the law. Nevertheless, the city forced Louis and other saloon owners to consolidate twelve saloons to five in 1914, which decreased city revenue and forced cuts to the police.

Images

Louis Peterson Home
Louis Peterson Home Google maps image of Louis 500 S 3rd St, 2022. Source: Google Maps Link Creator: Google Date: 2022
Petersons, 1910
Petersons, 1910 Louis Peterson, bottom right. Creator: Owner Date: 1910
Alderman Peterson
Alderman Peterson Article in the Ravalli Republic. Source: Access newspapers.com articles through the MTHS Portal Creator: Ravalli Republic Date: 27 April, 1900

Location

500 S 3rd, Hamilton, MT | private

Metadata

Montana Historical Society, “Louis Peterson Home,” Historic Montana, accessed June 17, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/3531.