History

Mainstreet Butte, Montana1864…Prospectors strike gold in Silver Bow Creek, register Butte’s first mines

1870…Placer gold mining gives out and population drops from 500 to 150

1872…First Copper king, William A. Clark comes to Butte, buys four major mining claims

1875…Mining boom begins with Bill Farlin’s discovery of rich silver ore at the Travona mine

1876… Second copper king Marcus Daly comes to Butte, acquires the Alice silver mine

1878…Miner’s Union organized; first strike over wages cut from $3.50 a day to $3

1879…Butte City incorporates; boundaries are Mercury, Quartz, Arizona, and Washington streets

1879…Morgan Earp, brother of Wyatt, is appointed a Butte policeman

1880… Marcus Daly buys Anaconda mine, organizes Anaconda Copper Mining Company

1881…Silver Bow County is established with Butte City as the county seat

1881…Utah and Northern railroad arrives from Ogden Utah

1881 Parade, Butte, Montana1881…First St Patrick’s Day parade in Butte led by the Ancient Order of Hibernians

1883…Anaconda smelter, to become the world’s largest, is constructed

1884…Three hundred mines, 9 quartz mills and 4 smelters in Butte employ 5,000 workers

1887…Butte becomes the world’s leading producer of copper, a position it holds uncontested for the next three decades

1887…Great Northern Railway reaches Butte

1889…The youngest copper king, F. Augustus Heinze, arrives in Butte

1890…Butte alone provides half of all U.S. copper production

1890…Dumas Hotel, a luxurious parlor house, opens in Butte’s Red Light District

1892…Feud between Daly and Clark begins when they take opposite political sides to control the Butte Water Co.

1890’s…The Stephens Block at Park and Montana was just one of the many new structures built in the 1890’s that still stands

1893…Panic of 1893 causes almost all silver mines to close

1893…Western Federation of Miners formed; Butte Miners Union is the #1 local

1893…Tippin’ a glass in Butte is easy with it’s 212 saloons in town

1893…Amalgamated Copper Co. forms with Daly as vice-president and George Rockefeller of Standard Oil as secretary

1895…Mark Twain speaks in Butte on his way around the world on his ‘Following the Equator’ tour

1895…Several warehouses explode when dynamite stored inside ignites. All but three of the Butte fire department personnel are killed

1898…St. Lawrence church built with subscriptions by miners, opened in 1898

1898…Beginning of the “Apex Wars,” a five year struggle for control of Butte Hill

1899…Clark builds Columbia Gardens, a family amusement park and gathering place. Butte’s beloved playgrounds for over 70 years

1899…BIG NEWS! Clark runs again for U.S. Senate and loses, thanks to Daly

1900…Butte has the largest percentage of Irish population of any city in the country

1900…Montana School of Mines, now Montana Tech, is opened

1900…Marcus Daly dies of cancer in New York City

1901…Clark finally wins, in his third bid for the U.S. Senate

1901…Eight hour work day established in Butte

1903…President Teddy Roosevelt visits Butte

1905…Industrial Workers of the World (the ‘Wobblies’) union forms in Butte

1906…War of the copper kings ends after more than 30 years of conflict

1907…Saint-Gaudens statue of Marcus Daly erected on N. Main street

1910…School of Mines students build the M on Big Butte

1912…Dedication of new Silver Bow courthouse, one of the nation’s finest

1913…The Butte, Anaconda & Pacific becomes the nation’s first heavy haul electric railroad

1914…F. Augustus Heinz dies, his fortune greatly diminished, in Saratoga, New York

1914…Butte Miner’s Union hall is dynamited to rubble during a labor dispute, martial law is declared

1917…Granite Mountain/Speculator Mine fire kills 167 in nation’s worst hard rock mining disaster; leads to first general mining strike in 39 years

1917…IWW organizer Frank Little, in Butte to help form “one big union” is brutally slain by 6 masked men. No one was ever convicted of his murder

1917…Novelist-to-be Dashiell Hammett works as a Pinkerton operative in Butte

1917…Martial law declared in 1914 lasts through 1921, the longest period of military occupation in U.S. since the Reconstruction era

1920…Butte population peaks at 41,611, with Silver Bow County at 60,313

1920…Butte produces 30% of U.S. copper output, 15% of the world’s output, and more silver than any other district in America

Main Street Butte, 19221922…Tong wars break out in Chinatown

1925…William A. Clark dies – the last of the original copper kings

1928…Two newspapers, the Anaconda Standard and Butte Miner join to form today’s Montana Standard

1939…Wyoming Street becomes the first asphalt-paved thoroughfare in Butte

1941…Marcus Daly statue moved from North Main street to the Montana Tech campus

1941…Anaconda Mining Company produces 51% of the copper and 98% of the manganese produced for the war effort during WWII

Miner with Explosives, 19551955…Berkeley Open Pit Mine digging begins, leading to the destruction of ethnic neighborhoods such as Meaderville, McQueen and Finntown

1959…Strike of 152 days as underground mines are being phased out

1962…Butte is named one of the nation’s first National Historic landmark Districts

1965…World Museum of Mining opens

Butte Miner, 19711971…Anaconda Mining troubles begin with nationalization of it’s mines in Chile

1973…The Columbia gardens is closed for expansion of pit mining operations. Later, fire destroys equipment and buildings

1975…Most underground mines in Butte are closed; Anaconda Co. lays off 3,000 miners

1976…ARCO buys Anaconda Company. The once all powerful company ceases to exist

1977…The city of Butte and Silver Bow County consolidate governments

1980…Anaconda Smelter closes

1981…Kelley Mine, Butte’s last underground operation, shuts down

1982…Dumas Brothel is shut down after nearly 100 years of operation

1985…Our Lady of the Rockies statue is airlifted in pieces to the East Ridge. The statue is assembled overlooking Butte by the men who built it

1986…Montana Resources, owned by Dennis Washington buys some ARCO’s mining claims in Butte

1995…The elegantly renovated Mother Lode Theatre opens

1998…Butte Miner’s Union No.1 Memorial wall on North main is dedicated

2000…Mining is shut down due to high energy costs and low copper prices

2002…First annual Evel Knievel festival, honoring the motorcycle daredevil who was born and reared in Butte

2002…Butte named Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation

2002…Mining is resumed in the Continental Pit by Montana Resources

2007…Butte, Montana is selected in a national competition as the host city for the three-year tenure of the National Folk Festival

2008-2010…Butte, Montana hosts the 71st through 73rd National Folk Festivals to widespread acclaim, attracting thousands of new visitors and giving Butte a new nickname, the Festival City.

2010…Butte is named Tourism Community of the Year and the National Folk Festival is named Tourism Event of the Year by the Montana Office of Tourism

2011…Festival organizers, including partners Mainstreet Uptown Butte and Butte Silver Bow County successfully transition the National Folk Festival into a major regional event, the Montana Folk Festival and the tradition continues