Twenty-three-year-old attorney Robert O’Hara had passed the bar less than a year before he arrived in the Bitterroot in 1890. Working for copper king Marcus Daly, he served as town site agent for the Bitter Root Development Company. He is recognized—along with another Daly employee, James Hamilton—as the town founder. Four years later, enough people had arrived to incorporate Hamilton, and residents elected O’Hara as their first mayor. O’Hara built this one-story building, one of Main Street’s earliest brick buildings, in approximately 1893. That year, a dwelling, cobbler’s shop, and office all shared the space. William Higman opened a bakery, confectionery, and ice cream parlor here in 1896. In later years the building housed, at various times, a drugstore, jewelry store, and O’Hara’s law office. O’Hara added a sixteen-foot addition to the rear of the building in 1909, and he may have overseen a 1940s or 1950s façade renovation that disguised the building’s rich history. O’Hara owned the building until his death in 1954.

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212 West Main Street, Hamiliton, Montana ~ private