About Butte MT

butte mt

Butte is located along Interstate 90 in what is known as Montana’s Gold West Country. It is the county seat of  Silver Bow County and is Montana’s fifth largest city with a population of 34,200.  Every highway exiting Butte (except westbound I-90) crosses the Divide (eastbound I-90 via Homestake Pass; eastbound MT 2 via Pipestone Pass; northbound I-15 via Elk Park Pass and southbound I-15 via Deer Lodge Pass).

Butte began as a mining town in the late 19th century in the Silver Bow Creek Valley (or Summit Valley), a natural bowl sitting high in the Rockies straddling the Continental Divide. Miners arrived in the 1860’s to make their fortune on gold, silver and copper.  Butte became known as one of the world’s richest mineral reserves and is often called “the Richest Hill on Earth”.   The city attracted workers from all areas of the United States as well as Europe and Mexico.

At the turn of the century, Butte was one of the largest cities west of the Mississippi.   Copper was in great demand because of new technologies such as electric power required the use of copper.  The “Copper Kings”, William A. Clark, F. Augustus Heinze and Marcus Daly fought for control of the mining wealth in Butte.  In 1899 Marcus Daly, William Rockefeller, Henry H. Rogers and Thomas W. Lawson organized the Amalgamated Copper Mining Company, later know as Anaconda Copper Mining Company.

Mining at the Continental Pit stopped in 1983. Montana Resources LLP bought the property and reopened the Continental pit in 1986. The company stopped mining in 2000, but resumed in 2003 with higher metal prices, and continues at last report, employing 346 people.

There are over a dozen headframes in Butte that still stand over the mine shafts.  Butte began an aggressive campaign to preserve their rich heritage by restoring property in Uptown Butte’s historic district and now is the largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States with nearly 6,000 properties.

In 2010 Butte was named Tourism Community of the Year .  Come celebrate with the people of Butte during March for St. Patrick’s Day.  July brings The Freedom Festival during the fourth, Montana Folk Festival and Evel Kneivel Days.  Visit us in August for the Irish Festival, An Ri Ra or join us throughout the year to listen to the Butte Symphony.

Welcome to Butte America!