Filed Under Hamilton

Carnegie Library, Hamilton

Hamilton Commercial Historic District

Hamilton’s Ministerial Association opened the first free library in Ravalli County in April 1903 in a room donated by the Ravalli County Bank. Three months later, Hamilton voters levied a one mill tax to support the library, and the enterprise passed into public hands. In 1907, the library moved to the newly constructed city hall. When that space became inadequate, the community approached steel magnate Andrew Carnegie for money for a new building. The process stalled because Carnegie, who helped finance over 1,600 library buildings across the country, required towns to provide a building site. The Hamilton Woman’s Club revived the campaign in 1914 by procuring the necessary gift of land from Margaret Daly, widow of copper king Marcus Daly. On July 8, 1916, the new building opened to the public. The $9,000 structure’s symmetrical façade, daylight basement, and classical detailing are characteristic of Carnegie libraries. The front portico was added later. Community support led to construction of an addition in 1988, which has allowed the Bitterroot Public Library to meet the growing needs of its patrons.


Carnegie Library
Carnegie Library Carnegie Library (verso unavailable, photo affixed to survey sheet) b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: Photographer Unidentified Date: [no date]
Carnegie Library, Hamilton
Carnegie Library, Hamilton Carnegie Library, Hamilton, facing northwest on State Street, front view of building. Source: Creator: Date: July 2008


306 State Street, Hamilton, Montana | Public


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Carnegie Library, Hamilton,” Historic Montana, accessed July 25, 2024,