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 mines...as 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.
|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