Filed Under Hamilton

Downing House

Hamilton Southside Residential Historic District

Ranchers George and Mary Downing purchased both the house next door and this lot in 1909. In 1915, the Downings moved existing buildings onto the empty lot and constructed this vernacular (builder-designed) home. The asymmetrical façade and decorative porch columns are indicative of the Queen Anne style, while the low-pitched hipped roof and overhanging eaves reflect the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style. The builder adapted the buildings, a common practice to save money, while delivering the “modern” aesthetic the Downings desired. By 1920, the Downing’s son Lewis and his wife Florence had moved into the home. Lewis, a recent pharmacy school graduate, opened Downing Drug Store in 1917. Although the name changed over the years, the pharmacy remained a Hamilton institution for the next eighty years. The Downings raised their two children, Elizabeth and Bill, here. Florence worked as a nurse in Hamilton’s first hospital and was active in the Montana Nurses Association. When she died in 1920, the local chapter of the Montana Nurses Association named a scholarship in her honor. Lewis remained in residence. He died in 1981 at age ninety-three.


Downing House
Downing House View of facade Source: Google Street View Date: September 2022
Downing House
Downing House View of facade Source: Google Street View Date: May 2012


420 South 4th Street, Hamilton | private


Montana Historical Society, “Downing House,” Historic Montana, accessed July 13, 2024,