NewsCrime and Courts


Hamilton group will ask judge to temporarily halt historic church demolition

Posted at 8:26 AM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 10:26:18-05
St. Francis of Assisi Church Hamilton
The historic St. Francis of Assisi Church in Hamilton was built in 1896. (MTN News photo)

HAMILTON – A group of Hamilton neighbors is asking a Ravalli County District Court judge for a preliminary injunction to block the issuance of permits for the demolition of the historic St. Francis Church in Hamilton.

People living near the church on the south side of Hamilton have been grumbling about the plan by the Catholic Church to raze the old building and replace it with a new church.

Church officials have said the original building — which was founded by Marcus Daly and dates to the 1890s — is beyond restoration. Plus they say a new church will better meet the needs of members in the southern Bitterroot Valley.

But the neighbors argue the church is a landmark and should be saved. They took their complaints to the Hamilton City Council last fall, but the city said the new building project was within city regulations.

The plaintiffs filed suit last month and are asking Judge Jeffry Langton to issue a temporary injunction to stop demolition, buying them time to work with the city to see if there’s a way to save the church.