From 1864 to present day, the constant theme running through every historical moment is the greatness of Butte’s people. Whether it was one of the first pioneers to put down stakes in Butte, to the generations of good, hard-working people that have followed, Butte is unique in its resiliency and strength of character.
The unveiling of the exhibit of Butte’s history in the courthouse shows the ups and downs the city has gone through during the past 150 years, such as the discovery of placer gold in 1864 which played out and left Butte a virtual ghost town. Then came the discovery of silver, followed by the panic and severe nationwide depression in 1893 that devastated the western silver industry. However, the copper industry at the time was booming, and with Butte becoming the leading producer of copper in 1887, the city held that ranking for 3 decades. Although copper prices constantly ebbed and flowed due to supply and demand, it has been copper that built, and at times, tore down our city.
Through the good years and bad, we can reflect on all of the wonderful things that have come out of our city from past to present. There aren’t many cities in our nation that can boast about their role in the electrification of America and the mineral wealth that made possible the winning of two world wars. We are fortunate to have our outstanding educational institution, Montana Tech, where so many graduates are making a difference in the world. We have companies in Butte on the cutting edge of their industries, and driven entrepreneurs who are keeping Butte at the forefront of thought with their products and services. Butte has talented artists as well as athletes who are making a name for themselves nationally and globally. Butte is known as one of the friendliest cities, and every person in Butte contributes to that honor. Visitors almost always note that they feel at home here.
The Office of the Chief Executive, the Butte-Silver Bow Archives, the World Museum of Mining and the Daughters of the American Revolution are honored to be the link to Butte’s rich history. We are passionate about preserving Butte’s past for generations to come. Here’s to 150 years, Butte.