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Hamilton House Eligible!

Great News! This morning Deborah and Cindy heard back from State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) Matt Halitsky.

He states:
“Attached is the SHPO determination for the Hamilton House. We believe it is eligible under Criterion C for its architecture and affiliation with George Keith. The original is in the mail to you.”

The 1000s of hours of research Cindy and Deborah have conducted has paid off!

Now begins the intensive work of preparing the draft for The National Register of Historic Places, which includes physically inspecting the property and and compiling the historical research, about the physical characteristics of the property, date of construction, changes to the property over time, historic functions and activities, association with events and persons, and the role of the property in the history of the community, State, or the nation.

A survey will need to be produced showing connection to or location of other significant sites near Hamilton House.

Additional documentation in the form of photographs, a United States Geological Survey (USGS) map, and, for districts, a site plan or sketch map.

Deborah and Cindy are going to be very busy! 🙂


Welcome to Historic Hamilton House!

“Houses are like people – some you like and some you don’t like – and once in a while there is one you love.”

― L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs

Welcome to the Historic Hamilton House blog.

The Historic Hamilton House, constructed in June 1908, is one of Coeur d’Alene’s original Forest Heights District homes, built by the second mayor of the city.

Earlier this year it was announced that this beautiful old home was scheduled for demolition. A notice was put out stating that bids could be placed to dismantle the house, or anyone who could move the house at their own costs could have it. Sadly, the size of the house made moving it an impossible feat. Local author, Cindy Ackley Nunn, is currently writing a book focused on historic buildings in Kootenai County, and thought this would make a good chapter in her book. She was granted permission to photograph the interior and exterior for historic documentary purposes and for inclusion in her book.While doing background research on the history of the house she came across the original plotting of the parcel in 1904, and the new owner’s patent deed in 1906. Curiosity led her to a Facebook page where mention was made of this house and the difficulty others were having in finding it’s earliest origins, the history she had just discovered. Recognizing fellow researcher Deborah Akers Mitchell from previous discussions elsewhere, and knowing of her equal skills and talents, Cindy contacted her. As a 4th-generation citizen of Kootenai County and a Museum of North Idaho volunteer, she too had been prompted by the media attention. Refusing to accept the claim that it was just an “old house,” she began the investigation to find the original residents. They decided to join forces and from there the two of them worked together to uncover the fascinating and important long-forgotten history of this beautiful old iconic home.

Their efforts have managed to put demolition on hold and plans are currently in the process of turning this beautiful vintage home into a world class music conservatory.

Knotty Pine Panel

We now know who did the beautiful panel work at Hamilton House in 1946, thanks to Jim & Jack Hawkins…Avery Shaw LeCain, formerly of 515 Milwaukee Drive, completed this beautiful craftsmanship.

Back in 1945, when the Coeur d’Alene library was being remodeled, Avery was in charge of the carpentry crew.

His skilled work is a lasting historic reminder of the true craftsmen who called Coeur d’Alene home.

Swedish Rosemåling Painting

Just a quick update on the Swedish Rosemåling painting in the basement of Hamilton House. It is a high probability that it was painted during the time the Hawkins family owned and lived in the home. Agnes (RAMSTEDT) Hawkins was the granddaughter of both paternal and maternal grandparents born in Sweden.

Cupid Victorious

This painting was created on a wall in the stairwell at Hamilton House. It was painted on a sheet of canvas wallpaper that probably covered the entire wall. Cindy just found through a few hours of research that it is a copy of painting by one of the “Old Masters,” Adolphe-William Bouguereau (1825-1905), and is called “Cupid Victorious.” When the McNaughton family moved out circa 1930 they cut it from the wall and took it with them. Mary Sanderson, granddaughter of William and Mamie McNaughton, has donated it back to Hamilton House. It is in beautiful condition and retains its gorgeous colors. The big question… will it be hung back up in Hamilton House, or will more modern eyes find it too “offensive” and “inappropriate?” What are your thoughts?

More “hidden treasures” found!

More “hidden treasures” found in another closet at Hamilton House. Some are easy to read, while the one with the heart and arrow needs to be revisited and photographed with more light. We can make out the initials “M.G.” in the heart, but not the name above the initials. In another she has signed herself as “Mary G.” and it clearly says… Ruste Hum + Mary G. We don’t know who “Mary G.” was yet, and we believe the surname of “Hum” was misspelled and should have been “Hume.” So, if we can find a young man who went by the nickname of “Rusty” with the surname of Hume sometime between the years 1912 and about 1920, we might figure out who Mary was as well.
The name “Jim Hawkins” and “Jimmy Hawkins” is nice and clear