Hamilton was established as the county seat when Hamilton County was organized in 1858. Early settlers were plagued by raids. On the courthouse lawn stands a memorial to Anne Whitney, frontier schoolteacher who was killed while defending students during a raid by Comanches.
The Hamilton County Courthouse is a native limestone building constructed in the late 1800s after three prior courthouses were burned. The Hamilton County Historical Society displays old documents, pictures and artifacts in glass cases on the first floor of the courthouse. Also on the grounds is a historical marker for Elsie Waerenskjold, a pioneer whose writings brought many settlers to Texas from her native Norway. She is referred to as the "Lady with the Pen" who spoke out against slavery and called for temperance.
Surrounding the courthouse are a full range of specialty shops and restaurants. Homes dating from the late 1800s dot city streets and country lanes.
Performances throughout the year by the Hamilton Civic Theatre is a highlight of local activity, as is the Hamilton County Dove Festival that celebrates the opening of dove hunting season.