State officials turned out on January 21, 1937, for the grand opening of Hamilton’s new telephone system. The event marked the modernization of telecommunications in the Bitterroot Valley. Ivan C. Gustafson owned this property and built the building, according to the telephone company’s specifications, for its exclusive use. The old quarters in the Teidt Building on Second Street had been home to Hamilton’s telephone office for a quarter of a century. That facility had a huge six-operator switchboard, but only two operators were needed at any given time. This streamlined facility offered a much more compact, two-person switchboard. A public phone booth, unlocked at all times, opened on Main Street to simplify night calls. In addition to its own hot water plant and stoker, the building’s amenities included an operators’ restroom off the main office, “fitted with modern lockers and a davenport,” and a two-car garage at the rear. The building of red brick features a prominent Romanesque arched entry and buff-colored brick trim. The small apartment was added in 1952, and the telephone exchange operated here until 1964.



339-345 West Main Street, Hamiliton, Montana ~ public