Sunday, May 25, 2014

Discovering Butte Montana

Now that Lloyd has retired we find we're not spendng as much time at home as we thought we would.  This month has seen us on the road between Edmonton and Lethbridge and on down to Arizona several times.  As fun as it is, it keeps me from my computer and makes it more difficult to post blog entries regularly, but when I can, I do.  And here I am. We're home for a few days before heading across the mountains to visit our daughter Mary and her family in the Okanaghan.

As many times as Lloyd and I have driven through Montana on our way to Arizona, we've never stopped in Butte.  Earlier this week we corrected that error and ended up overnighting there, stretching our two day drive to three, but it was well worth taking the extra time to explore in this old (by North American standards) city that got its start as a mining town.

I won't go into the history of this fascinating place except to say that it is famous for its copper, silver and gold mines.  For thirty years early in the 20th century Butte Montana was recognized as the richest place on earth.  It was also famous for its labor unions and labor activities.  When underground mining ceased, Butte slowly diminished in size and population.  The final mine closed as recently as 1981.  The original mining city "Historic Uptown Butte" is still pretty much intact, set on a hill built around the mines.  The main part of todays city is on the lower flatlands and is a nice little city.

Lloyd and I arrived there around 5 in the afternoon when the light was beautiful for taking pictures.  We went around taking hundreds of pictures of the old buildings and mines and stopped only when it became too dark. Then we were up early the next day and spent the morning exploring and taking more pictures.  I'm only going to post a few here.  I hope you share our enthusiasm for old places and buildings.

Looking south down from Uptown Butte - the main city is now seen in the valley below.

A leprachaun perches atop Maloney's Bar.  During its heyday,
Butte had the largest percentage of Irish citizens of anyplace in the US.

One of the churches.  After a devastating fire early in
the town's history, a law was passed that all buildings had
to be built of brick or stone.

I love the intresting corner treatment on the upper floors of this
building.  I wonder what it looks like inside.

Nice to know that the hotel you're staying in is fire proof.  There were
lots of signs painted onto the brick buildings.

A plaque on one of the many union halls

The County Court House.

While restoration of the old city is ongoing, some of the
buildings are boarded up, awaiting their turn for beautification.

Some houses are just awaiting demolition.

The Steward mine at the top of the hill.  It was interesting to see the houses
were built up to the foot of the if the miners didn't want to be
too far from work.

I love these two 'sisters'...the only houses on this short block,
built on a hill right across the street from "The Con" in
the picture above.. They are both currently occupied.

The Con

One of several churches in Uptown Butte

This old school is now the community dog park.

This street has a beautiful big houses on it...definitely the rich
part of Uptown, probably built by the mine owners, managers.

This one is on the corner of the street above and is the
Copper King's Mansion. It is now a Bed and Breakfast.

I love the turret style of this one.  Wish I could
see inside it. Too bad these houses don't offer guided tours.

At the top of this hill and over the crest, those three brick buildings and more are part of Montana
Technical College of the University of Montana.  Its specialty is
mining, geology and engineering.  What a great place for students of
those courses.

That's just a few of the many pictures we took in Butte.  It is really a fascinating city.


Mickey said...

Some really interesting architecture in those many homes.
Lovely to see.I really love that you like taking pictures everywhere you go! Thanks! as I probably will never get there to see it for myself!

Mickey said...

Doug enjoyed your historical tour especially the mining.

doodles n daydreams said...

Pat, I've really enjoyed this mini tour of Butte. Like your country, our history is only a couple of hundred years old as far as european cities etc go. Thanks for sharing, and I hope you are really enjoying that you are able to get out and about in your retirement.



Butte is interesting, indeed. I enjoyed your online tour. I LOVE all the houses but my favorite was the turret style one.

Bev said...

I know what you mean... now that Brian is totally retired...blogging is on my back burner!!... I love being 'gone':))).... We did visit Butte a few years back...we are finding we have soo soo manny places to visit!! Have fun!!

RoeH said...

Been there a couple of times but never took the time to really see it. My nephew lives there now. Montana is a wonderful state.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I too enjoyed your tour. I'm an armchair traveler for the most part and love seeing the sights of places I'd never get to see otherwise. I do especially love seeing historical places and hearing about their history too. Thanks for sharing your travels!

Granny Annie said...

How fun to add Butte, Montana to my travels. This was great. Now I have been to Vietnam with Kay of Musings, and am visiting Arkansas with Monica of Changes in the wind. These travels from my computer chair are wonderful. Thank you and the others for sharing. In August I will have my travels to California to share.