News Articles

Read the genesis of attempts to save the Historical Hamilton House as reported in local newspapers. Please note that the articles of January 23rd, 2020 and February 19th, 2020, need updates to correct misreported information.

October 9, 2020 – On October 8th, 2020, the fate of the house was changed from “uncertain,” to “SAVED!”

Due to the Coeur d’Alene Press purging earlier articles we have had to retrieve them. Direct links to original articles no longer work.

The following articles sum up, in a nutshell, the battle to stop the demolition of Hamilton House, with a petition drive that was presented to the County Commissioners, but ultimately failed due to lack of any research that would qualify the house as being historically significant. Bids had already been submitted and accepted for the demolition, which was set to take place in October 2019. Deborah Akers Mitchell and Cindy Ackley Nunn then joined forces to dig deeply into the history of the house, combing through long forgotten documents, vital records and old newspaper articles and blurbs. Local attorney Robert Romero provided the chain of title that allowed them to clarify and validate their findings, and Robert Singletary, President of the Historical Preservation Society, also offered valuable guidance. Deborah and Cindy both wish to point out that there were others offering valuable insight into the history of this house as they gathered more information and began to contact descendants of previous owners/residents. Deborah and Cindy presented their information to Mayor Steve Widmyer and the CdA City Council, who were very supportive, and they presented this new information to the County Commissioners. It was during this time that the demolition was put on hold. Without this research the house would now be, literally, history, and completely gone.

Articles descend, starting with the most recent news articles, down to the first. We want to especially thank Keith Erickson and Madison Hardy from the CDA Press, who helped to establish the truth of our journey.


Sunlight poured through the Romer house picture windows, catching the strings on Maria Dance Clayton’s violin as she warmed up with a little Bach. The light seemed to dance on the orange walls of the old dining room.

Clayton plays professionally for the Utah Symphony and brought a borrowed violin to the old house to test the acoustics.

“It’s really live in here,” Clayton said to her mother, Julienne Dance.

Dance aims to start a music conservatory in the old house on Government Way in Coeur d’Alene, providing space for youth and adult lessons and performances.

“My mom definitely has a vision for it,” Clayton said.


A music conservatory could open its doors in Coeur d’Alene this year.

Julienne Dance, along with local attorney Brittany Ratelle, wants to found a music conservatory in Coeur d’Alene.

Dance’s dream location for this project?

The contested, county-owned Romer house at 627 Government Way.

Kootenai County purchased the historic home in the fall of 2017 with plans to demolish it and build an additional county office building to help with overcrowding in its current buildings. Nearby neighbors formed the Government Way Historic Neighborhood Coalition and have been fighting to preserve the house.

  • NEW INFO MAY HELP SAVE OLD CD’A HOMEOctober 28, 2019 at 5:00 am | By KEITH ERICKSON Staff Writer

COEUR d’ALENE — The historic house at 627 N. Government Way has even more history than previously known.

A duo of local history enthusiasts is digging deep to save the home from demolition.

  • OLD HOME PROPONENTS STATE LAST-DITCH CASE… September 05, 2019 at 5:00 am |By BRIAN WALKER, Staff Writer …

COEUR d’ALENE — Kootenai County commissioners on Wednesday refrained from making a quick decision to reverse course on the fate of a 1910 home on the courthouse campus.

Neighbors, two Coeur d’Alene City Council members and a representative from the Idaho State Preservation Office testified during the meeting attended by about 35 people on the building at 627 Government Way that was earlier occupied by Judge William McNaughton and Kootenai County Prosecutor William Hawkins.

The county, which bought the home two years ago for $425,000 for office space to relieve crammed departments, plans to have the building demolished this fall. The plan came after the county put the structure out to bid twice for removal and relocation of the building and received no bids. The second bid process, which ended last month, also included a salvage-and-demolish option.

A bid was finally received during the third bid process to tear down the building. That bid is under review by the county’s legal staff.

  • LAST GASP FAILS TO SAVE HOUSEAugust 19, 2019 at 5:00 am | By BRIAN WALKER Staff Writer

COEUR d’ALENE — A Victorian house on Kootenai County’s downtown campus is coming down after all.

On Monday, Kootenai County commissioners authorized building consultant Shawn Riley to begin to secure bids for demolition of the 1910 structure at 627 Government Way that was once occupied by Judge William McNaughton and Kootenai County Prosecutor William Hawkins.

It was most recently occupied by the law offices of Brown Justh & Romero. Two years ago, the county bought the property for $425,000 to use for office space.

The demolition decision came after the county twice put removal and relocation of the building out to bid and received no offers. The most recent bid process, which ended last week, also included a salvage-and-demolish option.

  • NEIGHBORHOOD HOPES TO SAVE LOCAL HOMEJuly 02, 2019 at 5:00 am | By CRAIG NORTHRUP Staff Writer

On a breezy summer Friday on Spokane Street, Zoe Ann Thruman stood on her front steps between knick-knacks and a green John Deere snowblower and insisted this story isn’t about her.

“It can’t be about me,” she said as passers-by wandered through her front lawn, window-shopping through her fundraiser garage sale intended to benefit a local theater company. “If people think it’s about me, they’ll just dismiss me. This has to be about the voice of the people.”

It’s hard not to make this story at least a little about Thruman. After all, the Coeur d’Alene resident is behind a push to save a beloved house on Government Way, a house caught between an unclear history and county bulldozers.

“I’m just one person in this,” she said. “I’m just one citizen, but I don’t think any citizen should feel helpless. I think it’s our responsibility to stand up.”

Historic Building Up For GrabsFebruary 19, 2019 at 5:00 am | By BRIAN WALKER Staff Writer

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