Covellite

Never judge a town by its exit ramp . . .

. . . because at night, every exit looks the same: fast food beacons and glowing gas stations with trucks steaming in the cold.

I spin away from the dark rush of the interstate and down the town’s widest avenue—to the snow-crusted parking lot of a nationwide hotel chain with its cheerful hello and coffee-scented hallways. It’s 9 p.m. and I have safely arrived in Anywhere, America—to sleep and eat, to wash, dress, and repack—and then leave.

Towns are like people—some you know well, others not at all. Some you pass by with a glance, some you meet for a five-minute fill-up, others you end up marrying and staying with forever.

But I believe every place in the world deserves a lifetime. A month from now, my credit card bill will remind me that I was in Butte, Montana, and list my exchanges for that date. Otherwise, I will have nothing to show for this brief time and a place in my life. Our world has become too anonymous.

Up north they warned me that Butte was “blue collar”, though I’m not sure what that means. I am wearing a blue flannel shirt, but only because it’s cold outside, and the first resident I see looks like a glamorous showgirl in mourning: a tilted black beret, a bushy black shawl, leggings and shiny black high heels.

“I went to Mass today—and I will go tomorrow,” she announces to the air, pacing the hall.

I feel guilty for eavesdropping, but cellphones make our lives so public. To her friend on the line, she offers a favorable review of her new priest. It’s my first hint of Butte—a town that was settled by a wave of Irish immigrants and still home to one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the West.

“I have to drive to Helena to get my hair done,” the older woman chirps into her phone, “I’m beginning to look like a cocker spaniel!” She talks about “her girl” over in the capital, the one who understands hair—and I make a mental note never to get highlights in Butte.

The next morning I miss the turn-off onto the interstate and drive aimlessly. Montana Street climbs steadily uphill, passing block after block of metallurgical street names: Platinum, Mercury, Gold, and Iron. In the weak winter daylight, Butte reminds me of other mining towns I know: Donetsk, Potosi, Bendigo and Kalgoorlie, Merthyr Tydfil and Timmins. I see great wealth and I see dirt. There are fanciful painted brick facades and Victorian palaces with turrets, and then above the snowy horizon, the beige scar of a strip mine, as if an angry child had scratched away the mountains.

Headframe Spirits in Butte, Montana distills their own whiskey, gin, and vodka (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Traveler)

How I love a town with contrast—I decide to park my car and wander down the block. There are saloons and Irish pubs painted with shamrocks. I pass the Butte Pioneer Club Ballroom and poke my head into Headframe Spirits where it’s not even noon but the drinkers are drinking Moscow Mules: vodka, ginger beer and lime in a pure copper mug.

Copper built Butte—there may be silver and gold in them hills, but it’s the wide vein of copper under these sidewalks that turned a forlorn and forgettable butte into the capital “B” big city Butte. For a brief moment in American history, Butte was the largest city west of the Mississippi (bigger than San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Seattle) but today, with only 30,000 residents (Buttites?), the copper capital is a shadow of its former self.

Despite derelict buildings and vacant lots, I sense an eagerness to remember past glories. Signs point to the Mining Museum and the city’s last functioning brothel (shuttered only in 1982 after a century of nonstop business) is now a charming bed & breakfast. Across the Street, a pawnshop window shouts, “We Buy Precious Metals.”

But I am more intrigued by the shop in front of me with its cluttered window display of beautiful gems and colored crystals. I don’t know what “Asterism” means, and I’m not even sure they’re open, but I step inside to see the stones.

I love rocks and I collect them wherever I go—I have obsidian from Iceland and shale from Kentucky. In our anonymous world, rocks are genuine, always with a unique story to tell about a place. Rocks never lie—all the Walmarts in the world can’t hide the stones you’re standing on.

Behind the counter, a geologist with a headlamp and spectacles is busy with his rocks. Two large dogs look up at me from the floor, decide not to attack and go back to napping.

I peruse the shelves of precious stones, boxes of glossy quartz—gin-clear stones that looked like sucked-on ice cubes. The inexpensive tiger agates and pyrite are for tourists—the geodes and sparkly crystals for collectors. Inside a locked cabinet sit the real gems, like Montana sapphires set in white gold. Rumor has it that Montana’s famous yogo sapphires are the only American gems found among the British crown jewels.

But I’m not here for jewelry. I am keen to see the rock that built Butte.

“Excuse me, but do you have any copper ore?” I ask the geologist.

He comes out from behind the counter and shows me a broken cardboard box filled with heavy chunks of blackened mineral. I hold up one lump of enargite (Cu3AsS4) in my hand, gently turning it under a lamp. The stone sparkles silver and gold, blue and then purple. An iridescent splendor shines up at me—the color of peacock feathers set in stone. It is such a rough yet beautiful rock, and it is the whole reason that Butte exists. It’s also poisonous.

Enargite, a type of copper ore from the historic copper mines of Butte, Montana, once the largest in the United States. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Traveler)

 

“Enargite is copper with arsenic in it,” explains the geologist.

“You know Cornish pasties?” he asks, and I nod yes. In fact, I’ve had them in Cornwall. Cornish pasties are like a handheld meat pie with a crust and Cornish immigrants who carried their tradition to the mines of Montana.

“You know how Cornish pasties have that crimped edge on ‘em?” the geologist asks. “The miners would hold that edge and eat the pasty, then throw away the crust because there fingers were covered with arsenic.”

What he says is true—the copper miners of Butte worked with mineral ore that coated their hands with poisonous dust. Cornish pasties offered a baked “handle” that kept them from ingesting arsenic.

“What’s that rock over there?” I am distracted by another shimmering purple stone behind the glass, like nothing I’ve seen before. The color is curious—changing from indigo to shiny purple and then metallic red, depending on the light and where I’m standing.

“That there is covellite,” he answers, and he hands me the most beautiful mineral I’ve ever touched with my bare hands. I stare at the shimmering surface, captivated by its brilliant color and light. One second it looks a royal purple, then it switches to scarlet and then deep blue-black reflections. How could I have lived this long and never seen such a stone as this—or even known that it existed?

Covellite is copper sulfide (CuS) and it is, in fact, quite rare. In the mines of Montana, it was the secondary, low-value deposit to more-desired copper ores like enargite and bornite. And yet, a piece of covellite from Butte offered the first scientific evidence of superconductivity in nature. The rest is history—indeed, the whole story of modern electricity comes down to a pretty rock in Butte.

I am drawn irresistibly to this stone—like Golem to his Precious—and I dawdle at the counter until I build up the courage to pull out my credit card.

I want that piece of covellite! It’s a feeling I’ve never had before. I typically find gold boring and diamonds cliché, but even though I’ve never heard of covellite until now, I suddenly crave it and desire to hold onto some small piece of it forever.

The piece I purchase comes from the famous Leonard Mine—carried up by miners from 3,500 feet below the surface. Covellite is a very rare stone and since the mine closed some 45 years ago, it has become even rarer. Montana is still the best place in the world to find covellite and as I leave the mineral shop on Montana Street, I feel lucky for my little discovery.

For a brief moment, I am a contented tourist with my souvenir in my pocket, but when I’m back in my car, a quick online search reveals that I am not just holding some pretty little rock.

It turns out that covellite is magical.

The Internet tells me that covellite stimulates one’s psychic ability, opens up the third eye, and will help me see into my past. According to the Book of Stones, “Covellite can help access one’s lifetimes spent in other realms.”

While I have spent my lifetime in many different realms (and all seven continents), this is not what they mean. Rather, the New Age spiritualists indicate that covellite is the key to unlocking past lives. They counsel me to hold onto this stone, to wear it or sleep with it, and that by so doing, covellite will help me unearth old memories and relive my reincarnations. Apparently, ccvellite sparks such a powerful recovery of lost memories that I really should not use it without consulting a therapist or a medium.

I’m afraid the magic is lost on me, a skeptic. I view crystals as nothing more than Earth’s atomic patterns—I will not be placing covellite on my open chakras tonight, nor do I believe that gemstones decide our fate.

And yet, this pretty little stone determined the fate of Butte. Covellite made copper crucial, copper brought money and men from around the world, the women followed the men; children were born in this place—a city swelled up and then so quickly retracted when copper prices fell. This stone is why Butte’s phone book is filled with O’Sheas and O’Malleys. This stone is why miners were once relieved from the draft—to mine metal that became the bullets that flew across the Western Front. This stone bled arsenic into the land and this stone is why I am eating authentic Cornish pasties for lunch in Montana.

Steak and potato Cornish pasty from Joe's Pasty Shop in Butte, Montana (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Traveler)

 

Joe’s Pasty Shop is my last stop before leaving town, and like covellite, the snug little diner on the east side of town reveals at least one of the past lives of this place.

I take mine to go—a football-shaped steak and potato pasty with crimped edges and a tub of brown gravy to go with it. The first bite tastes like Sunday Dinner in a pie—meaty and filling with a touch of onion and pepper. Another hearty bite and I can imagine the Cornish miners from a century ago, huddled half-a-mile underground in the Neversweat Mine, holding their pasties with blackened hands and devouring mouthfuls of love from home.

I leave town with a full stomach and a purple stone in my hand. My visit has lasted all of seven waking hours—far too brief to know the place. I don’t have a lifetime for Butte—I didn’t even have a day, but I know enough to appreciate the town with all of its past lives.

Another mile down I-90 and the town of Butte disappears from my rearview mirror—another exit ramp on the anonymous interstate. There will be other towns along the way, but none quite like this one. From the road, it’s impossible to judge, but scratch beneath the surface, and the place begins to shine.

Comments

  1. Suzanne in VA
    January 25, 2013, 3:22 pm

    This is exactly how I felt during my brief stop in Butte. If you go to the Archives building there is an inscription on the front of a quote from 100 years ago of a mother telling a daughter “When you get to America dont stop anywhere, you do directly to Butte Montana” and something to the effect of it being awesome. I hope to go back someday~

    • Andrew Evans
      January 25, 2013, 11:07 pm

      Thanks for sharing Suzanne. What a great quote! That sounds exactly like something an immigrant would say. I think it’s hard for us to imagine places any different than they are in the present-tense, but in fact, they hold a rich past and symbolize the lives and sacrifices of so many people before us. I really felt that sense of personal history in Butte–thanks for adding your knowledge! Sending you best wishes from Montana-Andrew

  2. Jeff Coulter
    Washington, DC
    January 25, 2013, 3:44 pm

    The thing I love about your travels is that you make traveling here in the U.S. just as exciting as you do your trips to exotic locations. Definitely makes me want to visit Montana!

    • Andrew Evans
      January 25, 2013, 11:04 pm

      Thanks Jeff! I love traveling in the USA because I think our country is so much more exotic than we often believe it is. Knowing you, I’m sure you would love Montana–it’s a wild and beautiful place. Thank you for traveling with me on this journey. Best, Andrew

  3. Monica
    Missouri
    January 25, 2013, 5:49 pm

    Having three sons, I always had interesting rocks in my house. I think they got it from me. As a child I was always coming home with a new interesting rock. Your covellite is beautiful, as is the enargite and I’ll take two pasties to go. One day I hope to see for myself some of these fascinating places you so perfectly bring to life for us. Thanks for the journey!

    • Andrew Evans
      January 25, 2013, 11:02 pm

      Thanks for your comment Monica! I feel for you, as my rock collection grew and grew and my poor mother had to deal with all my rocks! I was so excited to discover a new mineral that I had never heard of before, and especially one so pretty. Thanks as always for traveling with me online, sending best wishes from Montana! Andrew

  4. Erica Bilge
    January 28, 2013, 12:33 am

    Is that a raw sapphire? Amusing. Some unique collection you got there. Keep it up Andrew. I’m gonna be your blog’s follower for sure

  5. Mira Remien
    London, England
    January 28, 2013, 9:37 am

    Reading your Montana posts has got me a little choked up missing the place I am from and know best. If you head to Missoula, there’s plenty of backcountry or you can take to the local ski area, Snowbowl, where one can find many routes off the beaten path. The two and only ski lifts cover some mighty terrain and are slow, almost the pace of skinning in. Best to you, Andrew.

  6. SOPHIE CARRERA
    British Virgin Islands
    January 28, 2013, 10:47 am

    I have always loved rocks and your covellite is glorious ! Keep up the good work, dear Frere Ajax, je pense tres souvent a toi – Sophie

  7. Darcy
    Montana
    January 28, 2013, 7:50 pm

    Followed a link to your Montana journey from a friends FB page. Love your descriptions of my home, it’s what my heart feels when I look at the mountains and breathe in the fresh air or stare across the vast plains. You put those feelings into words so perfectly! I grew up just over the hill from Butte in the Ruby Valley, but now live in Billings. I miss my western mountains everyday, thanks for capturing them so well! Will be following you regularly now :)

  8. lola
    Northwest
    February 1, 2013, 3:49 am

    Butte, Montana- a mile high and a mile deep.

    I grew up in Montana (west of Butte) and when I was in Highschool Butte was still a tough fighting town. A close friend of mine whom actually grew up in Butte recalled that he was in the 2nd grade in the 70s when they finally made the rule that you couldn’t fight on the school grounds. Therefore, if you were caught fighting- you were instructed to take it outside the fence. Not a big help if you were being beaten up! But the kids were expected to be able to stand up for themselves and to throw and take a punch. Their parents were miners, and Irish and anything but weak.
    Those days are gone and I don’t think Butte is a whole lot rougher than anywhere else. They have a good Technical college even.
    They are still proud of their past and will tell you of Butte’s past glories and riches as well as about it’s hard knuckled loyal uniqueness. How the lady of the Rockies got built (that’s how we Montanan’s use the verb ‘got’ when we aren’t trying to be sophisticated) for instance.
    and Butte, I believe, had one of the first Amusement parks in America. Columbia Gardens. It was a cosmopolitan town. Opened possibly in the 1800s some time.

    I really enjoyed reading your story on Butte, will keep coming back.

  9. Richard Gibson
    Butte, MT
    February 1, 2013, 10:56 am

    Thanks for stopping in Butte, but more, thanks for looking for and finding the shine.

    • Andrew Evans
      February 2, 2013, 12:29 pm

      Of course Richard! I’m sure there’s a lot more to discover out there, too, but was grateful even for the brief time I had in your town. AE

  10. Susan Fogg
    Glen Allen, VA
    February 1, 2013, 2:01 pm

    This is my first visit to your blog. I was drawn in by the rocks! I try to pick them up as I travel also. They are a real souvenir and when I hold them later I remember the moment and place so well. What beauties you were able to get! Thanks for sharing them and their story. Butte sounds like a colorful place.

    • Andrew Evans
      February 2, 2013, 12:28 pm

      Thanks Susan. Aren’t rocks the best souvenirs ever? No rock is the same and it reveals so much about a place. Definitely visit Butte if you have a chance. I really loved the minerals there. AE

  11. Christy Hammer
    Omaha, NE
    February 1, 2013, 3:59 pm

    I am eager to read about your adventures in Tanzania. When will those begin? What are you most excited about seeing?

  12. Mike
    Boise
    February 2, 2013, 1:01 am

    Well done! I’m a Butte kid, born and raised, but thirty years removed. It’ll always be home, and it is quite a place. You are an keen observer. Thanks for taking me back.

    • Andrew Evans
      February 2, 2013, 12:24 pm

      Thanks so much Mike. I really did love Butte and hope to return-AE

  13. Candy Dinius
    you know your from Butte Amercina it
    February 2, 2013, 11:49 am

    Nice write up!

  14. Candy Dinius
    Andrew Evans
    February 2, 2013, 12:10 pm

    Andrew Evans,I was wondering if you would post this to a site we have on Face book it is called,You Know You Are From Butte America If…..,I think It is a great right up and i think the Butte people would like it. (Covellite) Thank You Candy !

    • Andrew Evans
      February 2, 2013, 12:22 pm

      Hey Candy! Thanks so much for liking the post. You are more than welcome to link to any of my material. Best, Andrew

  15. Rose
    Butte, America
    February 2, 2013, 1:46 pm

    As a transplant, I have come to appreciate the sacrifice Butte and her citizens paid to build America…thanks for paying her homage…but just so everyone knows not everyone was or is Irish here!

  16. Barbara
    Butte Montana
    February 2, 2013, 5:08 pm

    My Grandfather Joseph Novack was the original owner and founder of Joe’s Pasty Shop. My father Bill Novack took over the business along with his brother Joe and sister Millie after my Grandfather’s death. My Dad’s loving hands made those pasties until the family business sold in 1981. The pasties of those days are different from the one you tasted on your recent visit, but the new owners are comparable. I am glad you were able to visit Butte and appreciate the town and it’s people’s rich history. You cannot find better people than the one’s in Butte!

  17. Holly Carpenter
    Melrose, MT (30 miles south of Butte)
    February 3, 2013, 10:53 am

    I was born and raised in Butte and moved to Melrose as an adult to live on my husband’s family’s ranch. I am filled with pride when I read your article and am so grateful that you spent a little time to get to know our town. Growing up in Butte you learn to stand up for yourself, your family name and your town. We have been put down by every other town in Montana (with the exception of some of the small mining towns around us) and we are classified as unsophisticated darelicts who drink the city’s dirty water. However, there are some people who actually take the time to make their own judgements and usually end up falling in love with our little town and our people. I’m proud to be from Butte and I hope someday you will get the chance to spend a little more time here.

  18. Jim Shea
    Tacoma, WA
    February 3, 2013, 1:40 pm

    Those of us who grew up in and remember the glory days of the old burg refer to ourselves collectivley and proudly as “Butte Rats.” We felt sorry for our kid cousins in places like Missoula and Billings who had no mine dumps to play on. Some of the above comments are correct. It was tough, male, and brutal. Two-fisted fighting on school yards had few limits. But. . . there was also a distinctive European sophistication resulring from the ethnic diversity, the Irish, Italian, Finnish, English and Slavic neighborhoods. From those neighborhood came scholars, doctors, professors, violinists and concert pianists, famed athletic coaches. Butte is not a place for tourists to simply be exposed to. It is a place that richly deserves to be fully explored and “aprehended”

  19. Jim Shea
    February 3, 2013, 1:49 pm

    I add this comment. Like Savannah and Charleston, Butte needs to add a first rate interpretive center to celebrate and explain its vital role as the “boiling point” of America’s melting pot, its importance in electrifation of the nation, the rise of labor movement, the World Wars, Wall Street, the phenoenal wealth of the Clarks, Dalys and Heize’s. For starters.

  20. Shanna
    Overland Park, KS
    February 3, 2013, 1:49 pm

    I was lucky enough to have grown up in Butte. It was a joy to read your article and experience it through someone else’s eyes. There is definitely a reason that it is referred to as Butte, America. My daughter who was born there but raised here in Kansas, is a rock lover as well and brings one home from every trip that she takes. Upon her return from Japan she stated that the rocks just weren’t as interesting as they are in Butte. Thanks for shining the light on the beauty of that wonderful hard scrabble town!

  21. Tammi McDaniel
    Flathead Valley
    February 3, 2013, 2:41 pm

    I am a bonafide ‘Butte Rat”. The name is not what it implies. A ‘Butte Rat’ is simply someone who is passionate about Butte. So, suffice it to say, YOU may be in that category. You wrote with such wonderful emotion and incite about a place you spent not even a full day. For those of us who were born and raised there, our attitudes and values regarding our home town go deeper than one can even describe. As I write this, I find myself struggling to find the words that could adequately convey the love I feel for the town that created me. The people of Butte are known to be survivors and scrappers, thus the term ‘Butte Tough’. Once dubbed ‘The City of Champions’, the work ethic instilled in it’s athletes is beyond reproach and we carry it with us throughout our lives. Whenever I am asked where I am from, my reply is always Butte. I feel blessed to have been reared in a place that undoubtedly leaves it mark on so many of it’s own. The Lady of the Rockies sits high atop the east ridge always there to welcome us home.

  22. dick
    Boise
    February 3, 2013, 2:49 pm

    Great Job. The mining camp is like no other place in the world and it’s great to see it discovered by new folks. As you can tell from the posts, everyone who was born, lived, or some how became associated with Butte America carries it with them and passes it along. It’s an amazing thing. I appreciate you work on this article.

  23. Cindy
    Waterloo, NY
    February 3, 2013, 4:16 pm

    I lived in Butte for a time and would go back there in a heartbeat if I had the ways and means. Butte has my heart and soul and that will never leave, even if I pass on. You have captured elements of Butte that people traveling don’t even see!! Thank you from Waterloo, NY

  24. Richard Gibson
    February 4, 2013, 4:53 pm

    Much more Butte history here (and many other sites!) http://buttehistory.blogspot.com/

  25. Mary Anne
    Lake Havasu City, AZ
    February 4, 2013, 7:06 pm

    Like many others who have commented on you article, I was raised in Butte. It’s a shame you didn’t have more time, because there is a very extensive collection of minerals (1,300 specimens) at the Mineral Museum, located on the campus of Montana Tech.
    http://www.mbmg.mtech.edu/museum/museum.asp
    I was always fascinated by the history of my amazing town, and growing up we visited the Mineral Museum and the Mining Museum, which has a re-creation of an 1890s mining camp, a close-up look at the Orphan Girl mine, as well as the Hoist House, the Mine Yard, and an underground exhibit. There is a mineral display here as well. My youngest boys were finally old enough to understand and enjoy the Mining
    http://www.miningmuseum.org/exhibits.html
    Butte is also the hometown of Evil Knievel, Levi Leipheimer, Brian Wilson (who used to live across the street from my sister), Rob Johnson, and Colt Andersom, just to name a few.
    My husband and I both graduated from Montana Tech, which is not just a technical school, but a world-renowned mining and engineering school, which includes geological, geophysical, metallurgical & materials, mining engineering, petroleum, and safety, health & industrial hygiene (just to name a few!).
    If you ever find you way back to Montana, I highly suggest you take a day and truly explore Butte. I think you’ll be glad you did.

  26. Mary Anne
    February 4, 2013, 7:12 pm

    I accidently hit “enter” before I was finished! I was trying to add that my boys were old enough this past summer to enjoy the Mining Museum, and they loved it. It was so much fun to see them enjoy the exhibits and learn about mining and my town’s past.
    I also wanted to thank you for taking the time to spend a few hours in Butte, and for appreciating her beauty. Also thank you for writing such a wonderful article!
    Safe travels, Andrew!

  27. Beverly
    Helena, Mt
    February 5, 2013, 3:18 am

    I too grew up in Butte and am proud to be from a hard working mining town. My family history is interesting and colorful. I love pasties and am just about to make some. My mother just past away and was a loyal Butte girl. If you would say anything bad against Butte my dad might think “them might be fightin words!” Thanks for the great article!

  28. Alana
    Butte, MT
    February 5, 2013, 9:11 am

    Andrew, thank you so much for the wonderful article about our community of Butte America. Often times reviews and articles are not pleasant. You put the frosting on the cake and captured so much of the spirit about our community. I lived at the Columbia Gardens which was the amusement park from years ago. The children of this community growing up had the best in that park. Yes the community spirit still holds true in every walk of life. Check out the information on the Class AA football championship of November, 2012. We have one of the best small colleges in the country with over 90% placement upon graduation and they are located around the world. Aren’t you fortunate to have missed the on ramp to the interstate and were able to spend those 7 hours becoming one with our community. Thank you again.

  29. L. Albright
    Butte, MT
    February 5, 2013, 12:40 pm

    Thanks to you for taking the time to see our beauty! Not only does the city shine with individuality, but so do the people. Most reviews of our city are “negative”. It is to nice to read one from a person who has the eyes to see beauty!

    Thanks again! Hope you come back soon.

  30. Ann Thometz Bowen
    Colville, Wa
    February 5, 2013, 2:15 pm

    My siblings and I were raised in Butte, I left Butte in 1967 after I graduated from Butte High. I remeber the great times we had in Butte along with the pasties and the Pork Chop Johns’ sandwich. I still eat on every time I return to Montana to vist my family in Billings. I is nice to see what other people write about Butte.

  31. Zack
    Butte, America
    February 5, 2013, 2:49 pm

    Very well done Andrew. You’ve done my hometown justice. We’ve developed a reputation of being bleak and ugly, but in just a day yu have discovered what few realize. Under its rough exterior Butte is a beautiful city. Not only that, but I stand by our distinction of being the toughest town in MT. Just this year, Butte High won the State Championship yet again not by being the biggest or most athletic, but by being the toughest.

  32. Terry O'Dunphy
    Butte, Montana
    February 5, 2013, 3:47 pm

    The actual quote on the archives building is: “Don’t even stop in American, go directly to Butte, Montana”. Been here for over 70 yrs. and still find wonderment.

  33. Mike McArthur
    Spokane
    February 5, 2013, 4:17 pm

    Andrew, you were fortunate to have found Butte, and we to have shared your comments. Butte was and is the source of precious minerals, but the rarest of it’s offerings are it’s people. None finer anywhere, and I’ve been everywhere.

  34. Wayne
    spokane
    February 5, 2013, 6:58 pm

    i was raised in Butte where life couldnt have been better. as kids we spent our summers at the copper league baseball games (semi-pro bb ) or on our bikes hiking up to saddle rock playing baseball. i was in the first little league they had. my first job was selling pop at the Copper league games what a blast we had in the 50`s. winter time we spent at clarks park speeding no matter what the temp. there were alot of rinks to skate on. b-street rink was a favorite used to build bond fires to keep warm. pasties and porkchops a favorite. st pats day and many more. i was lucky to be a butte rat lol. try to get home as much as possible. greatest ppl in the world. God Bless Butte, Montana

  35. Kate Klingensmith
    Moberly MO
    February 5, 2013, 7:04 pm

    I lived in Butte for several years. I had more friends and acquaintances there than any place I’ve ever lived, and I’ve lived all over the US. Butte–the place and it’s people–really found a spot in my heart. Th

  36. Kate Klingensmith
    Moberly MO
    February 5, 2013, 7:07 pm

    Picking up where the submission flew off…There is such a sense of history and where people came from there. Very unique. The history is more personal than even New Orleans or Charleston SC.

  37. Doug Hill
    Reno
    February 5, 2013, 7:12 pm

    Buttites? No, Butticians!

  38. LEO
    butteful Butte
    February 5, 2013, 7:50 pm

    THAT QUIP IS
    MILE HIGH MILE DEEP , EVERYONE ON THE LEVEL

  39. Terri (Winston) Beaman
    Purcellville,VA
    February 6, 2013, 8:31 am

    I grew up in Butte and graduated from Butte High School. My heart will always have the memories of the greatest times of my life and friendships.
    The good ole times of ice skating at Clark’s Park, sledding on the hill at the dump and going to the dances on the weekends.
    Besides the yummy pasty it was also a treat to go to John’s Pork Chop for a yummy pork chop sandwich.
    Another great memory was the Butte High Band leading the 4th of July Parades.
    Butte is the greatest!

  40. Dawn M. Johnson
    Butte, MT
    February 6, 2013, 10:35 pm

    Thank you for shining such a bright light on Butte! It’s like the Covellite gave you a true insight to the heart and essence of my home town! Hope you can return for a longer visit someday!

  41. david fletcher
    Butte Mt
    February 6, 2013, 10:42 pm

    Great article. Many people come to Butte and don’t get it. You did. Thanks.

  42. Anna Lee Kuhr
    Billings, MT
    February 7, 2013, 1:16 pm

    Have been and always will be a Butte Rat! Wonderful article, thanks for sharing.

  43. John Thompson
    Butte, Montana
    February 7, 2013, 3:01 pm

    Mr. Evans,

    Your story about your short stop-over in Butte was sent to me by a local friend. I now understand why you travel and write for National Geographic Traveler, “Your Good”

    Now if you really want to experience, I mean, get some of Butte into your body, blood and soul, then come back.
    Come back and have lunch with some real historians like Ellen Crain or Lee Whitney with the Butte Archives.
    Come back and talk to Chris Fisk, a high school history teacher
    Come back and talk to Marko Lucich, Executive Director of our Chamber of Commerce
    Come back and talk to Don Peoples, a former city of Butte Chief Executive, Don is just “One” of those Butte citizens that “Saved” our town when times got tough, and boy are we glad he was our “Helmsman” at that time. Don’t wait too long, Don is getting up in the years, but still sharp as a tack.
    Come back and talk to George Everett, executive director of Butte’s Uptown Mainstreet.
    Come back and talk to Leroy Lee about the ninety foot high statue of “Our Lady of the Rockies”
    sitting on the Continental Divide at 8,510 feet above sea level. Leroy is also getting up in the years.
    Come back for one of our annual city wide festivals, like St. Patrick’s day, March 16th & 17th. Freedom festival July 3rd and 4th., Montana Folk Festival, July 12,13, 14, Evel Knievel days July 25,26,27, “An Ri Ra”
    Irish festival August 9,10,11
    Come back and see, visit, experience, the World Museum of Mining, this site is only thirty plus acres.
    Come back and go to the Mineral Museum. If you are really a “Rock Hound” or a “Geologist” you better plan on the whole afternoon. They have a gold nugget that is only 27.5 ounces. It was discovered in 1989, that’s right 1989 just south of Butte. “There’s still gold in them there hills boy”

    There is still gold to be discovered by you. This gold is both underground and aboveground. So Come Back and we will show you a good time.

    • Andrew Evans
      February 7, 2013, 3:07 pm

      Thank you John! A great resource. Now I HAVE to come back to Butte! So many people to talk with. AE

  44. Francene Archibald
    Butte, MT
    February 7, 2013, 9:56 pm

    Thanks for the kind words. So glad you had a nice time in our town. We are awfully proud here!

  45. Leaman Sullivan
    Albany Oregon
    February 7, 2013, 11:49 pm

    I lived in Deer Lodge Montana went to reserve meetings in Butte every Thursday we always stop to Joe’s pasty shop every,time we go to Butte I still stop at Joe’s pasty shop they are the best pasties I have ever had bar none I spent a lot of time in Butte to my growing up years and it was wonderful thank you for the good times Butte

  46. Mary
    Butte, MT
    February 8, 2013, 11:18 am

    Gotta say it’s so nice to hear a lovely review from an outsider that actually sees our town the way we do! Thanks for the lovely write-up. And for the record, we call ourselves “Buttees” (pronounced beauties) :D Thanks again, and I hope you DO come back, the underground tour is a fantastic insight into the history of an amazing town, and you could easily spend an entire year and still not get to see everything Butte has to offer!

  47. Don Fraser
    Coeur d' Alene, Idaho
    February 8, 2013, 1:17 pm

    What a great article! You have seen more of Butte in just 7 little hours than many people do in a lifetime. I was born in Butte, as were my parents, and I travel back several times a year to visit my two sisters and brother-in-law who still live there. My mother and sisters have always made pasties, and I have often brought several back home with me after a visit. I mus admit, I had never heard the story about the ‘crimped crust’ being a ‘throw-away handle’ because of the arsendic on the miner’s fingers. Great, great story!…..

  48. Don Fraser
    February 8, 2013, 1:19 pm

    That last line was supposed to read “arsenic”…….

  49. Lee Whitney
    Butte, MT at the Butte-Silver Bow Archives
    February 8, 2013, 2:40 pm

    Wow! great feedback, everyone. Thanks for a good story about our favorite place. See you on your next visit.

  50. Beverlee M York
    United States
    February 8, 2013, 5:02 pm

    Wonderful Article. It sure made me proud of our great town. And wouldn’t you know it would take a visitor to our town to teach me about the crust being a handle to be tossed aside because of the arsenic on the miner’s hands.

  51. Bill Bunney
    Aurora, CO
    February 8, 2013, 6:58 pm

    I was born and raised in Ely in Northern MN, on the “Iron Range”, and one of the staples of the miners in the days before the iron mines closed “Cornish Pasties”, as described in the article, my wife and I still make them, they are great!

  52. Virginia
    Fullerton Calif
    February 9, 2013, 2:14 pm

    jYwa Butte is my home town too- and so many memories flooded my mind when I read all the domments- Here in Calif we had a Butte group that met regularlly- Marion Amos McKeckies- Gaye and bob and the McPhersons, Sirl and Mac – Donna Driscoll- me and my first husband loved the commeradie!! Miss it since they are all passed but the memories linger on- thanks for making Butte nationn wie a pace of love and goodness and beauty- Loved Harding Drive and the reservoir- they for got to mention- and of course the Gardens- but remember Pute Central vs Butte football games on the dirt field- no one p lays like Butte rats!!

  53. Sheree
    Helena Mt
    February 9, 2013, 3:25 pm

    This is a great article. I grew up in Butte and consider myself a Butte girl still, even though I have lived away for a long time. Buttite is one way to refer to us but I always preferred Buttee (pronounce beauty:))

  54. Jan Jursnich
    Davis, CA.
    February 10, 2013, 12:25 am

    Thanks for your article. You might be interested in the memoir written by my husband, Ed Jursnich., a Butte Boy. It is called BUTTE’S EAST SIDE, Gone But Not Forgotten. Ed died in 2009, the book is his legacy.

  55. Sherryl Vaughn
    Helena, Mt
    February 10, 2013, 10:43 am

    My husband was born and raised in Walkerville and always refers to Uptown Butte as Downtown Butte! He loves nothing more than to take people to Butte and give them a “Total” tour and history lesson at the same time! There is nothing better, more special and more Beautiful than Butte Montana! Thanks for the praise Butte deserves!!

  56. Frank E. Jeniker
    Lakeside, MT
    February 10, 2013, 4:22 pm

    Nice overview of Butte. On your next visit you may learn that in addition to copper, the mines produced large quantities of zinc, lead, cadmium, manganese, molybdenum, even selenium and tellurium, plus gold and silver. These occurred in beautiful mineral specimens as well.
    I was fortunate to see these underground in their original settings during the 40’s and 50’s, when Anaconda Col was backing out of the underground phases. Among these sites were the original Berkeley Mine, Minnie Healy, Pennslvania, Tramway, Rarus, old Alice, Anselmo, Lexington, Lex tunnel, Desperation, Orphan Girl, Orphan
    Boy, Original, Steward, others long gone. In my time in these underground, I never realizsed that these veins and
    treasures were to be gone forever.

  57. Irene Finley
    Portland, OR
    February 10, 2013, 5:58 pm

    I just got back from South America yesterday and found a link to your article. I went south intending to go to Chuquicamata Chile (see Janet Finn’s book, “Tracing the Veins.” My goal was to give my great niece’s and nephew’s Butte America baseball hats to kids in the open pit mining town in Chile. Alas, it turns out that the city no longer exists. It was moved to expand the pit, just like happened to a neighborhood in Butte!

    The people have been displaced and the sense of place diluted. The role of Chiqui in international politics at the time Allende fell September 11, 1973 seems lost to Chilean memory. I am grateful for the persistent memory of Butte people to the past and to the beacon of hope for all miners that they erected in the statue of the Lady of the Rockies that looms over Butte. Besides this culturally transcendent icon, the miners of Calama, who work in the pit that was Chuquicamata, still eat pasties.

  58. P. Austin
    Washington, D.C
    February 11, 2013, 10:50 am

    Glad you could see the beauty in that beat up old nightmare of a town. The joke in Montana is that the two most beautiful sights in the state are sunset over Flathead Lake and Butte in your rear view mirror. I spent two and a half miserable years there and have zero desire to return. It has a mean side — glad you saw the other part.

  59. Ken Calcut
    Thousand Oaks Ca.
    February 11, 2013, 1:23 pm

    Thank you for such a beautiful story of My HOME town. The Quotes of Butte abound. The Irishman quote “When I die send me back home to be buried in Butte Montana”. O do I remember gathering at the Rialto Theater on Thursday morning for free bus rides in the summer to the Columbia Gardens ,horseback riding in the hills surrounding Butte and fishing 20 to 30 minutes from home. Always love it “Butte the Richest Hill on Earth”

  60. Tom Daniel
    Butte
    February 13, 2013, 11:22 pm

    Very nice article by someone that took the time to look below the surface. As a life long resident of Butte I really enjoyed all the nice comments from people that have lived and made friends here. It is fun to read comments from friends I have met along the way. I hope some of you will take the opportunity to visit Butte this summer durnign the Montana Folk Festival. The dates are July 12, 13 and 14. Your town really shines during this annual event. See MontanaFolkFestival.com

  61. Kathe
    Butte
    February 14, 2013, 11:19 am

    Great article. Fifty plus years ago my husband and I were transferred to Butte with a well-known insurance company. The guys at the home office yammered… “What in the hell did you do to deserve Butte, Montana, Ken? We stopped in a Missoula motel where the desk girl went on and on about how she wished she lived in Butte, never missing a celebration.the town is famous for. Well, we took the move and never regretted it’s history and it’s people. We settled in town, then homesteaded in the highlands the last 33 years. About rocks? We’ve dug up our amazing share. God’s country.!

  62. Tracy Racicot
    Helena
    February 14, 2013, 4:07 pm

    Thanks for a great article Andrew! It’s so nice that you could see the “true Butte” with only being there for such a short time. I honestly feel fortunate to have been born and raised in Butte. I haven’t lived there for about 15 years, but always consider myself a Butte girl and hope to move back someday. There’s no place like it!

  63. Chris van Laer
    Butte, Montana
    February 15, 2013, 10:28 am

    Thanks for the great write-up Andrew! We really appreciate your positive slant about a town that has a mixed reputation….but those of us who live here love the place AND the people! Now folks can read about my shop here and what we do, also thanks for the link to my website! Now I have to go out and fix it up a bit!

  64. Jerri Hutter
    Dublin, Ohio
    February 15, 2013, 1:20 pm

    We were lucky enough to spent 4 days in and around Butte in
    early Sept. 2012. As you so ably describe your impression, it is similar to our experience during our visit. It is a well worn town, but so worth a closer look at the history and the ruggedness of the people who built it. I felt I was among”real people” with no pretenses. I also collect rocks from my travels – Ephesus, Turkey, Jerusalem, Sedona, Alaska – the rocks have substance and history.

  65. Darlene Matule
    Tacoma, WA
    February 15, 2013, 2:49 pm

    What a pity you didn’t have more than seven hours for Butte, Andrew.

    I’ve loved Butte since the night I floated into town in the backseat of a 1950 Studebaker about midnight. The Butte Hill was ablaze with lights. It looked like we were approaching heaven. It felt as if my boyfriend Steve and I were on a space ship ducking through the northern lights on our way to a rendezvous on Earth.

    “You never told me Butte is beautiful,” I chastised him.

    “I didn’t know,” he confided.

    The next morning when I awoke, I saw Butte from where my almost-to-be in-laws lived in Dublin Gulch. It was not heaven.

    Over the years, I learned to treasure Butte, a city where no one is judged by where they live, but only of how they live. I have often said—and my Butte-born husband agrees—that I understand Butte better than most natives.

    Growing up in Butte, I learned by osmosis, was like living in the pages of a history book. Kids walked past the mansions built by “Copper Kings” Marcus Daly and William Clark on their way to school. They played on the cowboy swings at the Columbia Gardens and picked up pork chop sandwiches at Ruth & Flos directly across from both one of the largest red light district in the country and a Chinese restaurant. They played baseball at Clark’s Park and skated at the Holland Rink. In many ways, Butte was heaven.

    Fast forward many years. Steve and I journeyed to Croatia to find his family roots. I’m sitting in the kitchen of a century-old farmhouse, a slice of fresh bread in my left hand and a jelly glass full of sljivovica in my right. And I think, What if? What if I were seventeen—sitting my own kitchen? What if was 1888? What if I was in love with a handsome young man? What if my father refused to let us marry? The what ifs didn’t stop. I started writing.

    Of course I placed my first historical novel in Butte, Montana where thousands of poor men of diverse European nationalities came to work in the copper mines. Butte was a town with as many stories as it had families.

    This is how I explained the essence of Butte early in my novel “Under the Gallus Frame”:

    “The men from Ireland remembered the famine, and they stayed. The men from Italy remembered the devastating earthquake and they stayed. The men from Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia remembered the centuries of oppression by the Romans, Turks, and Hapsburgs, and they stayed. They might call themselves Micks and Wops and Bohunks, but Butte became home. They developed a patriotic zeal about the town that spanned four generations and defied reality.”

    Your research (very good I must say) and short walk through town just grazed the surface. But you have a keen eye. I hope you can come again. Soon.

  66. Mike Fredrickso
    Missoula MT
    February 16, 2013, 5:03 pm

    I worked at the Leonard…I think it was the 3900 level. We followed a vein into an old stope and it collapsed crushing the fingers of one of my partners. It was hard work but you always had good company….we always depended on one another. Many minors took sample of ore out in their lunch buckets….I didn’t , which I regret to some degree. Working the mines in Butte was filled with both joy and heartbreak..it gave life, and took it away. your story was well done, and will remind many of us about our great city.

  67. Susan Eddleman
    New Orleans
    February 17, 2013, 5:15 am

    I was lucky enough to visit breath taking Glacier National Park
    on a road trip. After reading this I wish I would have stopped in Butte. Guess I missed out on the beautiful rocks and pasties. I truly hope there will be a “next time.”
    Thanks for the refreshing article. I’m a fan of yours now.

  68. Judi Walsh McGovern
    Stanwood, WA
    February 19, 2013, 11:41 am

    What a wonderful article. I too am a Butte Rat, third generation. We moved to Washington in 1965, we still go back every year to visit family. All of the comments posted brought back a lot of good memories. Tap’er light.

  69. Tom O'Neill
    Butte, MT
    February 19, 2013, 4:15 pm

    Very nicely done!

  70. Shirley McCauley
    Butte, MT.
    February 19, 2013, 7:02 pm

    I have been a Butte resident most of my life. I was raised here during my grade school and high school days and have lived here off and on ever since. My father was a hard rock contract miner and worked hard to Top the Board each week. There is no better place to grow up in. The people are the most caring people you could ever meet. We have so much history here and so many great memories. Life could be no better any where else. Thanks for the great article you wrote about our great city”Butte America”. Please return when you can to enjoy more of our wonderful town.

  71. Wilma Mixon Hall
    Polson MT
    February 20, 2013, 2:11 pm

    I was a young adult when I took a job in Butte in 1977. A 4th generation Montanan from Missoula, but It was in Butte I found myself. And while it took 5 short years, those were incredibly revealing years, about people, mostly. My friends from Butte are still among my friends today, some 30 years later. I cannot drive thru without stopping for a visit, a meal, or if timed correctly, several green beers.
    In the day, I would take time to rummage thru every second hand store and antique store. Unbelievable the trinkets I found, most of which I kept, except that one triple magnum bottle of 1964 Rothchilds Petite Syrah, I sold it by the glass in my restaurant for $5….remember that was 1977! OMG! I was a part of something very special there, it was just living day to day that was so interesting and typically a little edgy. And although my dreams took me back to Missoula, I carry my memories of Butte in my pocket over my heart.. Butte is much like a shiny penny..burnished and worn. You look up…anywhere in uptown Butte. You can feel its colorful history. As reflected in the eyes of the people you meet on the street, there is an kindness and a quality of acceptance. These are not strangers. They are residual characters in a town with lots of it!

  72. Mary
    Minneapolis
    February 20, 2013, 11:25 pm

    I spent my childhood traveling to Butte. 1007 miles. Both my parents were born there. I loved your article. I just booked my annual spring break junket to Butte. I hope to participate in the parade. I’m 99% Irish. It is a beautiful place,

  73. Rick
    Ny
    February 21, 2013, 12:15 pm

    Great story, Ive been lucky enough to visit butte twice. I met a gem there shes one in a million. I hope to make her mine some day

  74. Ron Gorman
    Melbourne, Australia
    February 22, 2013, 2:44 am

    You have written a great article about the place where I grew up (1951-57). I left after graduating from McKinley Grade School and attending the “New” Junior High down on the ‘flats’ for several months of the 9th grade.

    I remember Butte as Downtown, the East Side, the West Side and the Flats. As I remember, we left during a lengthy strike, the closing of several underground mines and the beginning of the open pit. Not sure about the exact sequence, but it all led to my Dad packing us up and moving back to Minnesota. Life was still OK, but nothing like Butte.

    Your account of the seven hours you spent in Butte captured so much about it’s past. You have awakened several memories from the seven years that I spent in Butte; “The Original Mile High City” and/or “The Richest Hill on Earth”

    It was during the “Happy Days” of the 50’s. It was back when a youngster spent the day exploring life outdoors.

    The first couple of years were in an apartment just a few blocks south of John’s “Pork Chop Shop”. I may be off a little, but, I recall two slices of white bread (may have been a bun) and a perfectly fried breaded pork chop . A cut of meat far too large to be contained within. It was a real treat for a second grader.

    One brisk evening in the spring of ’52 I remember my Dad was excited about a boxing match. No closed circuit TV in those days. In fact, I think television had just arrived in Butte.
    There were loudspeakers outside a building near Pork Chop John’s and we had our sandwich treat and listened to a “live” broadcast of a “Jersey Joe” Walcott vs. Ezzard Charles boxing match. As a kid, I remember a lot of people listening and cheering.

    I could go on with many memories but this is just to comment on your great story…………you felt the vibrant past of Butte as we lived it. Mine Shafts sprawling across the hill, three downtown theaters, the roller rink on the second floor, the roller coaster at Columbia Gardens Amusement Park, the stock car races out on the flats, etc. etc. etc.
    Thanks for your blog!!!!!

    • Andrew Evans
      February 23, 2013, 6:50 am

      Thank you! I’m more convinced than ever that I must return to visit Butte!

  75. Poncho
    winnemucca, nevada
    February 23, 2013, 11:33 am

    truly a great town and memories galore. i lived out at Rocker nearly 22 yrs, so i was in Butte a lot. everything that was written about Butte is true, the pork chop sandwich’s, the famous M N M, up town, i could go on and on, the trips all around the city, over pipestone pass, not to forget the hunting trips and fishing up in the Big Hole. my memories are here now but they will always be in Butte, people always ask me about various places in Butte, and we sit and talk of when and where remember the semi pro hockey team, good job. Thanks

  76. Cheryl Spolar
    San Mateo , California
    February 24, 2013, 1:33 am

    I also grew up in Butte. I live a half hour from San Francisco, but I really left my heart in Butte, Montana. I remember all of the great things of my childhood, like Free Thursdays at the Columbia Gardens ( which was built by one of the Copper Kings, W.A. Clark, to buy the vote to become a U. S. Senator. It worked, he became a citizen, but they refused to seat him). Butte is so fix in history. The Butte Miners went on strike and gained the 8 hour work day & the 40 hour work for America & nearly starved in the process. Buyer is full of Democrats& as a result, John F. Kennedy & Barack Obama came to Butte to campaign. It was a wide open mining town with an opera house, a brothel and a Chinatown. It was the 2nd city in the United States to have electricity, because the wire were made of the copper out of it’s mines. It is a diverse city of many nationalities who have learned to meld together. They even have a cookbook, ( The Butte Cookbook) neither all of the best ethnic receipes from the local cooks. (yes, pasties are in there, along with povetica- an Slavic Christmas bread). I go back there every year to see childhood friends. I try to go for the Folk Festival, because, Butte knows how to put on a party that everyone is invited to, and a good time is had by all. I also go back because it is a breath of fresh air to see all the hard work, honest, fun loving people that inhabit the place. I go back because the end of the rainbow is in Butte, the city that knows how, that pot of gold that they talk about at the end of the rainbow. The place that will always tell you to, ” Tap er light.’ if you would like some good reading about Butte, ” The war of the Copper Kings is a good start. Google Butte , Montana, there is plenty of good reading about the town. Take a week to visit, & you will know that the reason Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco ( which is full of Irishmen, as is Butte) was because he obviously hasn’t visited Butte!!!

  77. Cheryl Spolar
    February 24, 2013, 2:09 am

    See my comments above. Spell check really over corrected what I wrote. W. A Clark did become a senator, but they refused to seat him. Butte is the home of a great number of nationalities, who have learned to meld to become a fiercely loyal, proud city. They have a cookbook with all of the popular recipes of the various nationalities incorporated to form the book. The only thing I forgot to add, was one of the main reasons why I left, the freezing winters ( often the coldest spot in the nation.) which caused my other reason, lack of work when it was soooo cold!!! Don’t go there in the Winter, unless you like hunting, ice fishing, sno- mobiling, seeing the town and all the gallows frames lit up like a Christmas tree, & all the beautiful ice sculptures out on the sidewalks, & all of that beautiful, cold snow. ( p. s. if your car gets stuck in the snow, people will appear out of nowhere to dig you out, give you a push, or throw some sand under your tires, because that’s the kind of town it is.)

  78. SALLY GAGEBY COMBO
    YUBA CITY, CA.
    March 12, 2013, 2:20 pm

    THANKS TO ANDREW & ALL WHO WROTE COMMENTS OF BUTTE——-WHAT A GREAT TRIP OF MEMORIES OF MY LIFE IN BUTTE! SOME THINGS MENTIONED NEVER LEAVE YOU, BECAUSE THESE ARE THE PLACES & EXPERIENCES THAT SHAPED WHO WE ARE! I AM PROUD TO SAY WHERE I COME FROM, & THAT BUTTE IS MY HOMETOWN [THE UPPER WEST-SIDE] . THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CHURCH & SCHOOL, OLD ST. JAMES HOSP. BUTTE HIGH SCHOOL, BUT, MOST IMPORTANT, FAMILY & FRIENDS!!!! SO GLAD YOU WERE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE A PIECE OF US! I STILL MAKE THE PASTYS & HAVE TAUGHT MY FAMILY HOW. WE HAVE A PASTY-MAKING PARTY EACH YEAR. WHAT A GREAT GATHERING IT IS. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!!!!

  79. Ken Liston
    Lincoln, Montana
    April 15, 2013, 6:05 pm

    Andrew, you did well. I used to work the 3900 level of the Steward Mine in Butte with Georgie Paul and his dad. They have both passed. Georgie was a classic Butte Rat. Born and raised in Butte, graduated from Tech and worked in Butte until he died, on the job a few short years ago. He was always proud of his time ‘underground’ as am I. We worked for the Anaconda Copper Company while earning degrees from Montana School of Mines @ Montana Tech in Butte. The ‘geologist’ in ‘Asterism’ is actually both a geological engineer and a metallurgist. He is a gifted goldsmith and gemologist as well.
    If you are going to go back to butte, spend some time over a holiday (or the International Folk Festival) this summer and read some books on the city.
    I recommend first; “Copper Camp” a WPA writers project from the depression era. Second would be the “Battle for Butte” by Mike Malone. The “War of the Copper Kings” would round out a classic trio. There are many more, but the first two are absolutes.
    Welcome to Butte. I wish I were there.

  80. Shirley Leeson
    Salmon, Idaho
    April 28, 2013, 4:01 pm

    I’m a rockhound, for those of you who don’t know, we are an endangered species…because special interests are closing down collecting sites on our public lands. We will have a Convention & Show in Butte August 9-11th. Come visit with us and we’ll show you some of our collections at the show. It’s at the Convention Center — just ask anyone where to find us.
    Shirley Leeson, Northwest Federation Historian

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  82. Jotana
    wyoming
    September 26, 2013, 12:04 am

    Thank you for your comments on Butte, Montana. It is truly a fascinating place (born and raised) and I love the town. It was truly refreshing to read your post and to read the responses. Not often do I hear good things about Butte, especially when I am back visiting in other cities in Montana–hence why it is called Butte, America.
    Just nice to read so many good things that others have to say. :-)

  83. Tom Satterly
    Butte
    February 5, 4:44 pm

    Thank you for your story.
    I’m Butte, born and raised. I was a miner down the Leonard. I saw the covellite in the stopes. One or two pieces may even have fallen into my lunch bucket.
    Now I’m a storyteller. Stories about Butte mostly.
    Maybe someday you’ll return
    Tap ‘er lite

  84. Carol Reed
    United States
    February 8, 5:33 pm

    Great article, and I also enjoyed reading the comments from readers. Come back again, Andrew … I’m sure we could find a few Butte natives (Buttians) to show you around further! There’s SO much more to see and do!