Filed Under Butte

Socialist Hall

Hands and forearms clasped in solidarity symbolize a movement of local and national significance during the first decades of the twentieth century. One of the few socialist meeting halls remaining in the United States, the building is a monument to a turbulent era of labor unrest and political action. Socialists in Montana played an active role in forcing mainstream politicians to consider labor reforms. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Anaconda Copper Mining Company dominated Montana politics, much of the economy, and nearly everything in Butte, personifying all the negative aspects of the capitalist system. Butte, known as the “Gibraltar of Unionism” with its huge working class, was thus central to the socialist movement. Members constructed this hall in 1916. It was the heart of socialist activity in Montana, housing the Socialist Party of Montana, the Butte Local, and the Butte Socialist Publishing Company. World War I hysteria prompted Montana to enact the nation’s most stringent measures to suppress radicalism and dissent. The Socialist Party suffered severely. In 1920, it deeded the building to the Bulletin Publishing Company, whose Butte Bulletin, edited by electrician and radical unionist W. F. Dunne, carried on the party’s principles by supporting the Non-Partisan League. Dunne lost the building to taxes in 1924 and the Bulletin ceased publication. Socialist Hall, with its rallying inscription “Workers of the World Unite,” is a poignant reminder of the efforts to create a “cooperative commonwealth” and the solidarity engendered by the Socialist Party of Montana.

Images

Socialist Hall Socialist Hall. Front view of the building, facing southwest on Harrison Avenue. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Mark Reavis Date: June 1994
Socialist Hall Socialist Hall. Front to side view of the building, facing south on Harrison Avenue. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Mark Reavis Date: June 1994
Socialist Hall Socialist Hall. Side to rear view of the building, facing north to northeast on Cobban Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Mark Reavis Date: June 1994

Location

1957 Harrison Avenue, Butte, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Socialist Hall,” Historic Montana, accessed February 8, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2107.