Butte Travel Guide

Browse 2 travel reviews, 1 travel blogs and 78 travel photos from real travelers to Butte.

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Dan Cass

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Butte Overview

Butte is a small city of about 33,000 (pretty steady since 2000) located at the intersection of Interstates 15 and 90 in Silver Bow County in Southwest Montana, about 50 miles southwest of Helena. Butte was established in 1864, incorporated in 1879, and was named for the many buttes in the area. Copper was discovered in 1880, and a period of rapid growth followed with a peak population of around 100,000 in 1920. Butte is located in one of the richest copper producing areas of the country. After copper prices bottomed out the population dropped to around 35,000 and has been pretty steady at that level ever since. During its peak, Butte was the largest city in this part of Montana and had all the usual things associated with mining boom towns; lots of saloons, a thriving red light district, and frequently full jails. Unlike some of the other mining towns in the area, Butte was never a “company” town. Butte was a very culturally diverse place as the mines attracted people from many different countries, many of whom left their marks on the city. A number of famous people have ties to Butte including daredevil Evel Knievel, actress Martha Raye, and Navy SEAL Ron O’Neill. Butte is the county seat of Silver Bow County. The Silver Bow County Courthouse was completed in 1912 from a design by the architectural firm of Link and Haire using the Breaux Arts style of architecture. The podium has hosted people like William Jennings Bryan and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Butte has a huge number of buildings of historical and/or architectural interest. Butte is a part of the Butte-Anaconda National Historic Landmark District in the National Register of Historic Places. The Butte- Anaconda National Historic Landmark District covers 15.2 square miles (39 square kilometers) and has more resources, or contributing elements, than any other district in the United States. Very interesting to check out.