The historical importance of the Shaw and Cooper Block lies in the fact that it is representative of Alberta's turn-of-the-century small town office buildings. It was built by two Nanton entrepreneurs, both of whom were typical small town businessmen with extensive interests in the town and surrounding area. J.T. Cooper was the first mayor of Nanton, and H.M. Shaw, who founded the town, was a federal Member of Parliament for the Macleod riding. The Shaw and Cooper Block were built to function as the economic focus of the town.