Kelly House

Butte National Historic Landmark District

Beveled lap siding, turned porch supports, and a spindle frieze decorate this functional, working-class residence, built circa 1896. The hipped-roof cottage was home to the Kelly family for over seventy years. Irish miner Cornelius Kelly and his wife Julia owned the home free of mortgage by 1900, but Cornelius did not have long to enjoy his piece of the American dream. He died in 1907 of chronic bronchitis. Caused in large part by breathing the quartz dust produced by drilling and end-of-shift explosions, lung diseases were an occupational hazard. Historians estimate that lung diseases killed between a third and a half of Butte’s hard rock miners. In 1910 widow Julia supported herself and her children—Jerry 13, Michael 12, and Virginia 11—by providing room and board for her brother and brother-in-law. By 1920, “Verge” worked as a stenographer and both Michael and Jerry had become miners. All three lived at home. In 1940, the children still lived with their mother, who undoubtedly relied on their incomes. Jerry was the last Kelly in residence; he sold the home in 1971.

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107 O'Neill Street, Butte, Montana ~ Private