Filed Under Butte

Joseph Richards, Undertaker

Butte National Historic Landmark District

Joseph Richards came to Butte in 1892 and established an undertaking parlor in the Stephens Block on West Park. Victorian-era funerals were customarily conducted from the home of the deceased. It was the undertaker’s job to help the family prepare the body, provide the casket and mourning paraphernalia, and make burial arrangements. As undertaking establishments began to conduct funerals on the premises, the need arose for more diverse facilities. In 1907, Richards built this building as a funeral home, which offered a parlor for services, morgue, workroom, casket display room, and upstairs living quarters. It was the first such facility built in Butte, and the first in Montana to possess a motorized hearse. Although decorative sandstone covers the original first floor brick, the three display windows and transoms are unchanged. The original Renaissance Revival styling is readily evident in the handsome three-bay second story, which features a polygonal oriel window, beveled glass transoms, and stone trim. In 1974, the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #11 purchased the building for use as a lodge.

Images

Joseph Richards, Undertaker
Joseph Richards, Undertaker Joseph Richards, Undertaker (PAc 91-51 B1 RollCA8502 F22). Front view of the building, facing west on South Montana Street. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Chris Amos Date: 1985

Location

15 South Montana Street, Butte, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Joseph Richards, Undertaker,” Historic Montana, accessed March 5, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2013.