History of Butte, Montana

A Summary of the History of Butte


Butte began as a bunch of miner camps in the 1870s. Once gold and silver was discovered, a flood of people and companies came rushing to Butte, creating a new community. By the late 1870s Butte was a city growing by the day. Then, a massive fire occurred during 1879 that burned down the entire central district! A law requiring all downtown building to be made of brick was created shortly after.

Silver and Gold is great, but Copper is the real foundation of Butte. The demand for copper was constantly increasing. Especially during World War 1, where Butte supplied an estimated 1/3 of all copper for the United States.

Anaconda Mining Company began a monopoly in Butte. During the 1920s Anaconda mining Company was the 4th largest company in the world. This company brought the population of Butte Montana up to 60,000 people. Even though the depression of the 1930s caused a population decline, Mining stood strong. In the 1950s, The mining company began to take down entire mountains in a process called strip mining. The Berkeley Pit was one of the largest strip mines in Butte and by far the most popular.

Most of the mining operations were shut down during the late 1900s. This began a steady loss of population and businesses as fewer and fewer people were working in the mining industry. Soon the area around Butte became a superfund site as heavy metals on the ground surface was moving into nearby rivers. All mining operations came to an end in 1983.

Today Butte is standing strong and proud! The Historic uptown Butte is now a Bustling area with many old buildings soon being refurbished or have already been! Despite having a population loss in the late 1900s, most of the buildings that were abandoned are now being used, including the Belmont center.

Butte, Montana is a wonderful town with a strong history and a strong future.