Timeline for Butte-Silver Bow Public Library and its stained glass window.
November 1890 — Former Mountain View Mine owner Charles Larabie gives $10,000 towards the construction of a library building for Butte.
1892 — Voters approve a $100,000 bond.
1893 — The Butte Public Library, trimmed with granite lintels, arches, sills and resplendent in stained glass, is erected at 106 W. Broadway.
1894 — The library opens.
Sept. 24, 1905 — The alarm for what was then called Butte's worst fire goes in at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. A powerful south wind spreads the fire from Symon's Dry Goods store to other businesses on west Park, Galena, across what was then called Renshaw Alley (now Dakota Street) and north to the library on west Broadway. A special train makes the run to Butte in 33 minutes with Anaconda's city steamer pump and equipment from the smelter, arriving on Wyoming Street.
An examination determines the library can be repaired.
March, 27, 1960 — An alarm goes in at 3:40 a.m. Sunday, the upper floor of the library at 106 W. Broadway is burning. The roof and third floor collapse into the second floor where the American Legion meets. Assistant librarian Joyce Bouchard and others enter the building to minimize damage and protect the
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1961 — The renovation
salvaging the main floor and basement opens in December. Architect Walt Hinick, who drew up the design, was unsatisfied with the result but said, "We resurrected it as well as we could under the circumstances." The turret was removed along with the upper floors. Much of the stained glass is salvaged for the Copper King Mansion.
Feb. 28, 1972 — The library is again endangered by fire when the J.C. Penney store burns across the alley.
October 1991 — The old library closes. A book brigade helps move books to the new location 226 W. Broadway.
October 2008 — Helen Elsmore of The Dalles, Ore., donates the stained glass
window from the old Butte library tower.
The main and basement floors of the Butte Public Library still stand and house the Western Montana Mental Health Center at
106 W. Broadway.