As you leave Missoula traveling south you come to a number of small cities and towns before entering Hamilton in the heart of the valley. Hamilton is the County Seat and, with less than 4500 people, is still the largest town in the Bitterroot Valley. The four largest employers in the valley, the Forest Service, Marcus Daly Hospital, GlaxoSmithKline lab, and the Rocky Mountain Lab are all located in Hamilton.
Hamilton was founded in 1890 by copper king Marcus Daly. The history of Marcus Daly is quite interesting. He had great ideas but did not have the funding until William Randal Hearst decided to take a chance and joined him in a couple of ventures in Butte and Anaconda. Daly ended up buying a 22,000 acre ranch in the Bitterroot which became the Bitterroot Stock Farm and proceeded to build a town near the Stock Farm because there were no nearby cities. Later he built a summer home for his family which was first named Riverside but is now known as the Daly Mansion. This impressive historic home still stands on about 50 acres and is owned by the State of Montana today. If you're in the area, you won't want to miss the tours they have all summer long.
The main street of Hamilton has older buildings on both sides of the streets providing many "mom and pop" type businesses but the commercial district has grown substantially in the past few years. Three major grocery stores give you a nice selection; Kmart is in town, and even the fast food restaurants have found Hamilton.
As you look down Main Street to the west, you'll see the Bitterroot Mountains looming in the background. They are snow-capped nearly year around and, set against the beautiful Montana skies, it really is picture perfect most of the time.
Hamilton, like other towns in the valley has their own school district. Several years ago a new high school was built just east of town which has brought a variety of businesses and services to the area, especially for the youth. There is plenty of room for a newer swimming pool, football fields, baseball fields and more.
Most of Hamilton shows pride of ownership in their homes and community. Even the smaller very modest homes are each unique and different. A few planned unit developments have been created in recent years with smaller lots and basic homes along with condos and townhomes, which are a favorite for people who would prefer to go south for the winters.
As you come to the outskirts of Hamilton, there is quite a variety of types and styles of real estate ranging from massive log homes to little vacation cabins, inexpensive manufactured homes to luxury estates.
The area grew very quickly for about 20 years straight with home values skyrocketing. Shortly after the real estate crash hit the country as a whole, Hamilton and the Bitterroot Valley started experiencing a loss of potential buyers. The construction industry dried up and a lot of homes went into foreclosure. The area has just turned around recently and is appreciating quickly again.
The Bitterroot Team would love to help you with all your Hamilton and Bitterroot Valley real estate needs.