Built in the Streamlined Moderne style, the Pine Apartments’ smooth stucco walls and horizontal lines demonstrate a Depression-era need for efficiency. The building’s modern aesthetic also reflects an optimism that American innovation and ingenuity could drive the country’s economic recovery. In 1936, Leland Wells started construction on the apartments, hoping to attract Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) employees. The project struggled financially, and Ravalli County Bank assumed ownership until businessman Howard Bates completed construction in 1937. Bates operated a Hamilton coal and fuel business and contracted on New Deal projects, which were designed to create jobs and modernize infrastructure. RML expanded into a national vaccine factory during World War II, creating additional economic opportunities in Hamilton. Young professionals, particularly newlyweds, established their first households in the Pine Apartments. Attorney Claude Johnson and wife Lucy purchased the building in 1947 and lived in one of the apartments. Claude, a World War II veteran, served in various community organizations. Lucy golfed, hiked, and participated in Hamilton civic life. Bernatz Investment Company purchased the building in 1952 and continued to offer stylish, modern housing to professional men and women.