Filed Under Butte

South Butte Neighborhood

Butte National Historic Landmark District

John Noyes arrived from California in 1866 and purchased several mining claims just north of today’s Front Street. After he and his partners, including David Upton, “put in a ground sluice,” they cleared “about two ounces [of gold] to the man” the first night. The placer mines had played out by the time the railroad arrived in 1881, so Upton and Noyes platted building lots on their former mining claim. In contrast to the grid of the original townsite, they oriented the streets toward the tracks, announcing the neighborhood’s primary focus. By 1916, thirty-four passenger trains a day rumbled into Butte’s three depots, including the 1906 Renaissance Revival style Union Pacific depot on East Front and the 1916 Sullivanesque Great Northern depot at Arizona and Third. The Butte Electric Railway, which ran the city’s extensive streetcar network, located its car barns and repair shops on East First. Not surprisingly, many South Butte residents worked as conductors, brakemen, switchmen, motormen, or track maintenance men. Others in this mixed residential and industrial neighborhood worked for wholesalers. Over forty warehouses—which once distributed everything from beer, food, and medicine to paper, furniture, and mining equipment—still crowd the tracks. Additional large employers included Western Iron Works, a foundry on Second Street, which produced heavy mining and milling machinery and structural iron; the Butte Gas, Light and Fuel Company; and the nearby Parrot Smelter. Senator Burton K. Wheeler (Democrat, 1923-47) was the predominantly working-class neighborhood’s most famous resident. His home, at 1232 East Second, is recognized as a National Historic Landmark.


Map of Butte and vicinity, 1904
Map of Butte and vicinity, 1904 Plat map of Butte showing the South Butte Township in sections 19 and 24. Source: Montana History Portal Creator: Simpson, J. H. Date: 1904
Map of Butte and vicinity, 1904, detail
Map of Butte and vicinity, 1904, detail Detail showing the neighborhoods platted by Noyes and Upton Source: Montana History Portal Creator: Simpson, J. H. Date: 1904


Bounded on the north by the BNSF Railway tracks, to the south by East Front Street, on the east by South Warren Avenue, and Utah Avenue on the west, Butte, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “South Butte Neighborhood,” Historic Montana, accessed July 13, 2024,