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Mining City timeline

Mining City timeline

From the Butte, America's decades in photographs series
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1864 to 1889

1864 – Prospector “Seven-Up Pete” McMahon names Silver Bow Creek.

1866 – Residents of Butte City attempt to form a miners’ union.

1870 – The Emma Mine has a new foreman – Marcus Daly, who later would become one of Butte’s famous Copper Kings.

1872 – W.A. Clark, another soon-to-be Copper King, makes first visit to Butte.

1876 – Mining prospector hits a substantial copper vein in the Parrot Mine.

1876 – Mining begins to boom in Butte with the opening of the Dexter Mill and Centennial Mill.

1876 – Marcus Daly, with the help of investors, takes over Alice Mine.

1878 – Cut wages at the Lexington Mine and Alice Mine trigger Butte’s first-ever strike.

1878 – Plans in motion to form the Colorado and Montana Co. At the helm were Nathaniel Hill and W.A. Clark.

1879 – It is official – Butte City is incorporated. With incorporation was the formation of the Butte Water Co.

1879 – Montana Copper Co. is formed by Lewisohn brothers.

1880 – Looking ahead, Marcus Daly pays $20,000 for two-thirds interest in Anaconda Mine and buys the other third interest the next year.

1880 – Let there be light – electricity comes to the area that encompasses Alice Mill and Mine.

1881 – Butte is now the seat of Silver Bow County.

1881 – Charles Meader is the proprietor of a new copper smelter.

1881 – Butte Workingmen’s Union is now called Miners Union of Butte City.

1881 – Banker and successful Butte entrepreneur sells the Lexington Mine for $1 million, but retains 1/8 interest.

1881 – St. James Hospital opens its doors.

1881 – Two Irish organizations form – the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Robert Emmet Literary Association.

1882 – Marcus Daly just got richer as the largest deposit of copper sulphide to be found was discovered at the Anaconda Mine.

1882 – Brush Electric Light and Power is formed, thanks to a number of men, including W.A. Clark and Butte businessman Patrick Largey.

1884 – Mining City now has approximately 300 mines.

1887 – Butte is America’s leader in copper production.

1888 – W.A. Clark loses congressional seat to Thomas Carter.

1889 – Twenty-year-old F. Augustus Heinze makes his way to Butte. Heinze would later be referred to as the third Copper King.

1889 – Six men killed in a fire at the St. Lawrence Mine.


1890 – Nearly 11,000 people live in Butte.

1893 – Women’s Protective Union of Butte founded.

1894 – Riot disrupts Independence Day festivities when members of the American Protective Association fight with Irish residents. APA was an anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic group.

1895 – Referred to as the “Great Explosion,” 57 firemen are killed when fire erupts in warehouse district housing dynamite.

1898 – Hennessy’s Department Store opens.

1899 – W.A. Clark purchases Columbia Gardens.

1899 -- Butte Country Club established.


1900 -- Future U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt treated like a prince while visiting Butte.

1900 — Butte residents mourn the death of Copper King Marcus Daly.

1901 -- Butte Miners’ Union decides to invest its funds in Amalgamated stock.

1901 – Millionaire J.P. Morgan tours the Anaconda Mine.

1902 – Editor of Butte Inter Mountain, J.W. Kelley, kills widely known married physician Dr. Henry Cayley, whom he caught with his girlfriend, Madame Ruth LaBonta.

1903 – Rousing welcome given to President Teddy Roosevelt.

1903 – Robert Emmet Literary Association unveils monument at St. Patrick Cemetery.

1903 – Mary MacLane’s new book, “My Friend Annabelle,” published.

1904 – John D. Ryan chosen to head Amalgamated Co.

1904 – Three miners drown in mine shaft bulkhead between the Cambers and Belmont mines.

1904 – Butte’s Federal Building dedicated.

1905 – Seven miners killed in explosion at Cora Mine.

1906 – Miners to work eight-hour shifts.

1906 – People of all faiths mourn the death of beloved Butte priest Father Callahan.

1907 – Thousands crowd Butte streets to hear orator and politician William Jennings Bryan.

1907 – Summer flood causes heavy damage.

1907 – Monument to Marcus Daly unveiled.

1908 – Businessman Daniel J. Hennessy falls ill and dies while walking to St. Patrick Church.

1908 – Butte High Bulldogs take on Chicago high school team.

1908 – Premature blast in Diamond Mine kills four miners.

1909 – President William Howard Taft tours Leonard Mine.


1910 – Butte forms its first Boy Scout troop.

1910 – Hatchet-wielding prohibitionist Carrie Nation unwelcome visitor in Butte’s red-light district.

1911 – Lewis Duncan Butte’s first Socialist mayor.

1913 – Five miners killed in Leonard Mine.

1913 – Street lights illuminate Main Street.

1914 – Martial law takes effect in Butte.

1914 – Copper King Augustus Heinze dies in Sarasota, N.Y.

1915 – Explosion at the Granite Mountain shaft kills 15.

1915 – William Thompson presents Butte with park site.

1916 – Twenty-one lives lost in the Pennsylvania Mine fire.

1917 – Granite Mountain/Speculator Mine fire kills 168 miners.

1917 – Unknown persons kill IWW leader Frank Little, who was hung from a trestle.

1918 – Hundreds of Butte residents die from Spanish Flu epidemic – schools, churches and theaters shut down.

1918 – Con Kelley new head of Anaconda Copper Mining Co.

1918 – Triple hanging takes place on Butte scaffold. John’ONeill, Frank Fisher and Sherman Powell hang for their crimes.

1919 – YMCA opens its doors.

1919 – Water in short supply in Butte.

1919 – Butte’s Irish welcome Eamon de Valera.

1919 – U.S. troops guard Butte mines.

1920 – A number of IWW protestors shot by Butte police. U.S. troops again patrol streets of Uptown Butte.


1920 – Armed gunmen open fire on picketing miners on Anaconda Road; one miner dead.

1920 – First military funeral for a woman bestowed on Annette Markland, U.S. Army ambulance driver. She is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery.

1920 – Johnny Melia of Butte, Prohibition enforcer, turns out to be one of Montana’s biggest bootleggers.

1921 – Nearly 10-month mining strike ends in Butte.

1922 – Lightning strikes 10 Boy Scouts on Table Mountain in the Highlands; one boy dies.

1922 – Butte school board dismisses 44 teachers and Butte High principal.

1923 – Attempt made to dynamite Hibernian Hall on Main Street.

1923 – President Warren G. Harding pays visit to Butte.

1923 – William and Monte Harris die on Butte gallows.

1925 – Original Mine back in business after being shut down 15 months.

1925 – Copper King W.A. Clark dies in New York City.

1925 – Tony Vetere murders three men in Butte’s Meaderville.

1926 – Tony Vetere hangs for his crimes at the Silver Bow County Jail.

1927 – Thousands of Butte residents pay homage to visiting aviator Charles Lindbergh.

1928 – First mail plane arrives in Butte.

1929 – Miners get a 25-cents-a-day raise.


1930 – First ordination of a priest at 50-year-old St. Patrick’s Church.

1932 – Six young Butte men killed in July 4 explosion.

1932 – Huge crowd welcomes presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1933 – Beer is again legal in Butte.

1935 – October quakes keep Butte residents on their toes.

1935 – Long-time Butte sheriff Jere “The Wise” Murphy dies.

1936 – February temps reach -50 degrees.

1937 – First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt is Butte’s guest.

1937 – Buses replace streetcar system.

1938 – Mountain Con Mine opens with 900 men.

1939 – Former President Herbert Hoover makes brief stop.


1940 – Winds clocked at 75 mph in Butte.

1941 – Four miners killed at the St. Lawrence Mine.

1941 – Butte’s first World War II fatalities included Leroy Carpenter and James Gill.

1943 – Stand-out Butte High athlete Lt. Eso Naranche killed by a sniper in North Africa. Football stadium renamed in his honor – Naranche Memorial Stadium.

1943 – Pugilist Jack Dempsey a Butte visitor.

1944 – Mining City’s first woman war casualty, Lt. Vivianna Cronin, killed in an airplane crash.

1945 – Two brothers, Paul and Russell Fourtner, reported dead to family, found alive in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

1945 – Butte man Corp. Jasper Dawson spent entire war as a Japanese prisoner of war. Dawson was taken Dec. 8, 1941, and released Oct. 20, 1945.

1946 – Butte miners’ strike makes national news. Homes of men who crossed picket lines ransacked.

1947 – Winter storm in Butte brings 92-mile per hour winds.

1947 – To avoid mix-ups, newborn Butte babies will now be foot printed.

1948 – Butte High band marches in the Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, Calif.

1948 – President Harry S. Truman speaks at Naranche Stadium.

1948 – Summer storm causes heavy flooding in Butte.


1950 – Murder-suicide in Butte leaves five people dead.

1950 – Plane crashes into East Ridge killing all 22 aboard.

1950 – President Harry Truman makes a stop in Butte.

1951 – Butte Community Hospital dedicated.

1951 – Butte priest Father James Maginn executed; accused of being a spy.

1952 – Butte welcomes Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1952 – Butte’s Mike Mansfield elected senator.

1952 – Butte Civic Center dedicated.

1954 – Vice President Richard M. Nixon visits Butte for the second time.

1954 – Drilling starts up at Berkeley Pit.

1955 – B.A.&P. passenger train makes its final Butte-Anaconda run.

1958 – Badger Mine accident kills three Butte miners.

1959 – Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, guests at the Hotel Finlen.

1959 – Hebgen quake near Yellowstone National Park keeps Butte residents awake.


1960 – New hospital, Silver Bow General Hospital, opens its doors.

1960 – Mining strike that lasted 182 days comes to an end.

1961 – Mountain Con Mine is a mile deep.

1962 – Columnist Ann Landers is honored Butte guest.

1962 – Arsonist sets fire to 17 abandoned buildings in a seven-month span.

1963 – Two tons of stolen dynamite explodes near Pittsmont Mine dump; one person dead.

1963 – Big Butte School renamed in memory of slain President John F. Kennedy.

1964 – Butte church and club bingo games ordered to cease.

1964 – Albertson’s grocery store has grand opening.

1964 – Throngs of Butte people greet President Lyndon B. Johnson.

1965 – World Museum of Mining opens.

1966 – Robert Kennedy speaks in front of Miners Union Hall.

1968 – Eight-month-old mining strike comes to an end. The strike was deemed the costliest in Montana’s history.

1968 – Navy vessel bears the name USS Butte.

1969 – Work begins on Alumni Coliseum at Montana Tech.


1970 -- Aviator Bert Mooney dies.

1972 – Meteor streaks across Butte.

1972 – Old No. 1 makes its debut

1972 – One of the biggest fires in Butte’s history destroys J.C. Penney and other Park Street businesses.

1972 – First time in Butte’s history that police officers hit the picket line.

1972 – 3,500 people turn out to see Sen. Ted Kennedy.

1973 – Columbia Gardens closes its doors.

1973 – Leonard Mine’s 140-foot head frame tumbles.

1973 – Mining City home to Port of Butte.

1973 – Fire hits Uptown Butte again. Medical Arts building goes up in flames. Other businesses severely damaged.

1974 – Bulldog Coach Swede Dahlberg dies at age 74.

1974 – Announcement made to halt underground mining.

1974 – MERDI created.

1974 – Evel Knievel makes unsuccessful jump at the Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls, Idaho.

1976 – Golf ball-size hail hits Butte.

1976 – Butte celebrates America’s bicentennial.

1977 – It’s official – Butte’s city and county governments unified.

1978 – Kelley Mine reopened.

1979 – Overheated wiring destroys historic Silver Bow Block and Inter Mountain building.


1980 – Colorado man killed during annual Fourth of July fireworks display.

1980 – Former President Gerald Ford speaks at Montana Power’s annual meeting.

1981 – Plans underway to close Kelley Mine.

1981 – House of ill-repute, The Dumas, robbed.

1982 – Dreaded announcement made to close Berkeley Pit.

1983 – Butte mining to cease.

1983 – Quite chilly in Butte with a temperature of -52 degrees.

1985 – Our Lady of the Rockies erected atop East Ridge.

1986 – Mining resumes in Butte.

1986 – After more than 60 years, Christian Brothers leaving Mining City.

1986 – Million dollar mistake found in Butte School District budget.

1988 – Presidential candidate Jesse Jackson speaks in Butte.

1988 – Butte wins “All American” designation.

1988 – More than 100 headstones deliberately toppled by teenage boys.

1988 – Butte native Jack McCormick new warden at Montana State Prison.

1989 – Kmart opens in Butte.

1989 – Long-time Butte Chief Executive Don Peoples resigns.

1989 – Car bomb on Broadway Street rocks Uptown.


1990 – M&M, Met Tavern raided for gambling devices.

1990 – Fire damages Mineral Museum building.

1990 – Evel’s son, Robbie Knievel, sails over 30 cars.

1991 – Dead infants found in trunk of car. Dawn Kelly charged.

1994 – Actor Charlton Heston visits Butte.

1994 – 10-year-old Jeremy Bullock dies from a gunshot at the hands of fellow Margaret Leary School student.

1995 – Two men in Butte charged with hate crime; a first in Butte.

1995 – Nearly 150 dead geese found floating in Berkeley Pit.

1996 – AsiMi picks Butte for silicon plant.

1998 – Irish documentary, “The Irish in America: Long Journey Home,” features Butte.

1998 – Montana Power quits power sales; focus to be on telecommunications.

1999 – Evel Knievel receives liver transplant.

1999 – Montana Power Co. changes hands.


2000 – Belmont Senior Center opens.

2000 – Montana Resources shuts down due to electrical costs.

2001 – Copper Mountain Complex opens.

2001 – Actual bugs living in Berkeley Pit.

2002 – Future bleak for Touch America.

2002 – First-ever Evel Knievel celebration takes places.

2003 – After 113 years, M&M closes its doors.

2003 – Inaugural An Ri Ra takes place.

2004 – Touch America a bust.

2004 – Levi Leipheimer an Olympian.

2004 – NorthWestern emerges from bankruptcy.

2005 -- Maroon Activities Center opens.

2005 – Hollywood premier of Butte film “Don’t Come Knocking” at Mother Lode Theatre.

2006 – Ireland’s President Mary McAleese warmly welcomed in Butte.

2007 – Three Bears Alaska open for business.

2007 – Butte mourns the death of native son Evel Knievel.

2008 – Butte hosts National Folk Festival for the first time.


2010 – Construction finished on Butte’s SeaCast facility.

2011 – After 38 years, Bulldogs again play in Naranche Stadium.

2013 – It’s official – no public drinking after 2 a.m.

2014 -- Bryon Wilson competes in Sochi.

2014 – Original Mine new home to Irish festival, An Ri Ra.

2014 – NorthWestern begins construction of new headquarters in Uptown Butte.


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