The Legacy of Butte's Past
In its heyday, Butte was a thriving mining town. Prospectors came in search of gold and silver, and they found it. Yet it wasn't until the demand for copper grew – thanks to the advent of electricity – that Butte became one of the most prosperous towns in the country.
Men traveled from all over the country and the world to work the copper mines of Butte. From the end of the 19th century to the end of World War II, the mines continued to produce and wealth continued to flow into town. Changing markets and the switch to open pit mining in the 1950s led to the end of the mining boom in Butte.
Today people travel to Butte for many reasons. They delve into the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains that surround it, study its history, and take advantage of its many great cultural offerings. Come stay at our Lodging Butte and discover all that is irresistible about this Montana town.
There are many sites in and around Butte that reveal its fascinating past. All are close to our Butte Lodging. What follows are a few of our favorites.
The Charles Clark Chateau Museum is housed in the 1898 mansion built by the eldest son of Copper King (and U.S. Senator) W.A. Clark. The magnificence of the mansion is a testament to the great wealth produced by the copper mines. Both rotating and permanent exhibits showcase national and local artists and 19th century furniture. The Copper King Mansion, built in 1888, is also worth a tour.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Dumas Brothel Museum reveals a grittier side of the mining town. Located in the (former) Red Light District on Mercury Street, it was in operation for nearly 100 years, from 1890 to 1982. It has been closed for repairs, but is scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2010.
The environmental impact of all that mining is also worth exploring while in Butte. Close to Uptown Butte, the Anselmo Mine Yard is a fascinating showcase of underground mining technology. Nearby on Continental Drive, The Berkeley Pit is a result of years of open pit mining practices. Stand on the Berkeley Pit Viewing Stand and gaze at a landscape deeply connected to its history. It's good to know that, just as the community supported mining in the past, so it supports environmental restoration today.
Of course, don't forget to treat yourself well while in Butte. If you feel tired from all your sightseeing, pull up a chair to take in the view of the Rockies, or take advantage of the massage therapy available at our Butte Inn. It's what the Copper Magnates would have done.