With material and manpower redirected to winning the fight against fascism, commercial and domestic construction practically ceased during World War II. After the war, pent up demand led to a mini construction boom. With very few lots left on the 100 and 200 blocks of Main, downtown expanded west. Ravalli County Deputy Clerk and Recorder Anna Read owned this property in 1947. That year contractor Lyle Rasmussen constructed a one-story building here for use as a restaurant. It later housed an auto parts store and then the Sears Department Store. The modest, brick structure represents the shift away from ornamentation. The architectural movement toward simplicity, which began in the 1930s, solidified after World War II. The building’s design echoes earlier Hamilton business blocks with its large display windows, designed to attract pedestrians. In addition, like the business blocks that preceded it, the building abuts the sidewalk rather than providing room for landscaping or a parking lot, as later businesses would do. Unlike those earlier buildings, however, striated multicolored brick provides almost its only decoration.

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337 West Main Street, Hamiliton, Montana ~ private