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Old Butte library lives on in new mural

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Past meets present

Butte artist John Carle works recently on a mural of the old Butte library, which he’s painting on the “new” library at 226 W. Broadway St.

Butte’s original library has long been reduced to dust, but the public will get a chance to admire the building’s elegant beauty once again.

A 20-feet by 10-feet mural has been painted on the exterior, north-facing wall on the third floor of the Butte-Silver Bow Public Library at 226 W. Broadway.

Library director Lee Miller said the $7,000 project was funded in part through a grant from the Urban Revitalization Agency and the library’s budget. The Butte Rotary Club also donated $325, Miller said.

“I think it turned out

amazing,” Miller told The Montana Standard recently.

Artist John Carle, commissioned to paint the mural, used an old photograph as a guide. He was putting the finishing touches on the project last week.

It’s the largest painting

he’s ever done, he said.

“The adjustments are going from small finger strokes to big arm strokes,” Carle said. “It’s like you’re waving at someone all the time.”

The 2000 Butte High graduate started painting when he was 3. His latest paintings have included a “bar series,” in which he painted street scenes of Butte’s bars including Metals Bank, M&M Cigar Store and Maloney’s.

Miller said the library is

planning to eventually open its third floor deck, where people could better view the mural.

The original Butte library, built in 1894 at 106 W. Broadway St., sustained fires in 1905, 1960 and 1972, before it finally closed in 1991.

Reporter John Grant Emeigh may be reached via email at or phone at 496-5511. Follow him at


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