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Butte, Montana

By 1915, Butte was home to 70,000 people, most of them there because of the huge Anaconda Mining Company. Earlier, in the 1860s, Butte and particularly the nearby foothills were the scene of the great Montana Gold Rush with silver and copper strikes to follow. It is said that the mines of Butte have produced more than 20 billion pounds of copper. Millions of ounces of gold and silver have been extracted from the mines, by-products of the amazingly rich copper ores.

The Old and New Buttes

The result of all the early mining fervor is two Buttes: Uptown Butte is the original downtown, with elaborate architecture including turreted brick structures and the famous Copper King Mansion, the home of copper magnate William A. Clark. A two-hour walking tour will take you throughout the historic area, visiting union halls, churches, the courthouse, fire hall and the original copper mine. You may also tour old Butte on Old No. 1, a replica of an early Butte streetcar. The tour begins at the Chamber of Commerce (1950 Harrison).

The other Butte is the modern city, a bustling center of commerce which services the ranchlands which lie around the city.

For outdoor recreation, the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness is less than an hour's drive from Butte. This 62-mile route provides a loop through the heart of the old gold country, taking modern travelers to ghost towns and lake recreation. The wilderness area is a 159,000-acre stretch of forest and lakes, extending more than 30 miles along the Continental Divide. Access to the area is from Georgetown Lake, on the Pintler Scenic Drive, and the East Fork of the Bitterroot River off Highway 97. No motorized travel is permitted in the Wilderness. Closer to Butte, at Anaconda, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort features hot pools, water slide, 18-hole golf course, as well as deluxe family accommodations.

Railroad fans should not miss the Neversweat & Washoe Railroad at the World Museum of Mining. The museum features exhibits on the mining history of the region. The "Neversweat" takes riders on a railway trip past six former mining operations. The Kelly Mine was the last operating underground mine in Butte. Other places to see include the C.W. Clark Mansion, now a city arts museum featuring regional artists. Our Lady of the Rockies is a 90-foot statue atop the Continental Divide, east of Butte. The Humbug Spires Primitive Area is 18 miles south of the city on Interstate 15 (at the Moose Creek exit). The area features rock climbing and hiking around the fascinating limestone formations.

Butte Hotels

Copper King Hotel
4655 Harrison Avenue, 406-221-4080 or toll-free 855-681-5020

With 141 rooms and two suites, this hotel is well-situated, close to the historic "Uptown" district . It has more amenities than most of the other hotels, most of them chain motor hotels. There is an informal restaurant, the Columbia Garden Café, open for breakfast; the Pick and Shovel Café, openfor breakfast and lunch servi9ng light meals,and The King's Eatery, fthe hotel's steakhouse, open for fine dining at 5:30 p.m. and open until 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and until 10 p.m. Thursday through Santurday. Other hotel features include a large indoor pool with waterslide, and free WiFi.

You'll also find hotels and motels of the chain variety in town and on the approaches to Butte.


Butte KOA
1601 Kaw Avenue, Butte 406-782-8080
Take Exit 126 off I-90 for this full-service campground, complete with fishing, swimming and a deli.

For details on nearby towns and attractions
Go to Bozeman, Helena, Yellowstone National Park


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