South Butte Neighborhood, Butte

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.

1047 South Wyoming

Deed records indicate that a Knights of Labor Hall stood here by 1887. Open to both skilled and unskilled workers, the Knights helped found the 1886 Silver Bow Trades and Labor Assembly. The influential organization advocated for an eight-hour day;…

1116 South Nevada Avenue

Platted by 1881, Nevada Street was part of the rare Butte neighborhood more oriented toward the railroad (which paralleled Front Street) than toward the mines. The bustling community was home to railroad and warehouse workers, as well as streetcar…

826 South Main Street

The fish scale shingles ornamenting the front gable end reveal the Victorian-era roots of this home, built between 1891 and 1900. The front gable and originally a large wraparound porch added room and elegance to the structure’s core: a basic hipped…

919 Delaware

Once part of a bustling urban neighborhood, the 900 block of Delaware accommodated four single family homes, six apartment buildings, and a corner store. Three buildings stood on this lot. With houses built so closely together, little light entered…

922 South Main Street

Railroads were crucial to facilitate industrial-scale copper mining, and it was South Butte that became the city’s great railway hub. Because a variety of industries located here along with the railroad, South Butte reflects a colorful ethnic and…

929 South Main Street

By 1891, South Butte was a flourishing suburb, linked by streetcar to the uptown business district and the mines. Nevertheless, this lot remained empty until after 1900. By 1913, carpenters had constructed a one-story, flat-roofed duplex notable for…

939 South Main Street

Distinctive enough to have its own society column in the Butte Miner, South Butte was less oriented toward the mines than other Butte neighborhoods. In fact, only two people on the 900 block of South Butte worked as miners in 1910. The rest found…

Bowen Block

The inscription in the corbelled cornice of this two-story residential/commercial block identifies its first owner, William Bowen, and declares its construction date as 1907. By 1909, the Eagle Saloon occupied one of the two storefronts while…

Burton K. Wheeler House

In 1905, young New England attorney Burton Wheeler stepped off the train at Butte to stretch his legs, lost his money in a poker game, and decided to stay. Courtroom success quickly earned Wheeler a solid reputation. In 1908, Wheeler and his wife,…

Inter Ocean Hotel

Originally built by Ben Johnson in 1881 as a one-story hotel convenient to Montana Union Railway brakemen, firemen, engineers, and conductors, this residence ballooned in stages with the addition of a basement, upper floors, kitchen, and back rooms.…

Rocky Mountain Bottling Works

A myriad of rail-dependent businesses located in this area during the last decades of the nineteenth century, Hinds & Company, proprietors of the Rocky Mountain Bottling Works and agents for the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association, moved here in…

St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Butte

Bishop John Brondel founded St. Joseph’s Parish in 1902 to serve the varied ethnic groups settling on Butte’s south side. Father P. A. Quesnel celebrated the parish’s first Mass in a makeshift public hall. In 1907, a combination parish church and…

Steven's and Manley Hall

South Butte and the main business district up the hill grew toward each other as the streetcar line along Utah Street connected the two parts of the city. By the turn of the twentieth century, spaces between the two areas had disappeared and…