Don't tear it down
Open letter to Butte-Silver Bow government officials:
We recently learned that the unique and historically significant Blue Range building is being considered for demolition. This would be an irreparable loss to the historic fabric of Uptown Butte. The Blue Range on East Mercury Street is the last remaining building with street-facing “cribs” in Butte’s infamous red-light district, which once covered multiple blocks. Butte lost the Copper Block in the early 1990s and nearly lost the Dumas Brothel, the last of the “higher end” buildings in the district. The Blue Range was built in the early 1900s by Montana’s well-known Anton Holter and then owned by our important state senator, Lee Mantle. This iconic building stands for the real past of part of Butte’s working class.
With the recent flourishing of Butte’s commercial real estate market, we think advertisement for building sale to a wide audience of possible investors should be pursued. This opens revitalization opportunities for this historic structure, and the block that it is on. We understand that there are some structural issues, but certainly none that could not be repaired by a sympathetic investor. Current demolition plans need to stop while all other options are thoroughly evaluated.
A request to demolish this structure may be considered at the February 2, 2021 meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission. The commission meets at 5:30 PM by conference call at 1-877-820-7831, passcode 599883. Members of the commission and agendas can be seen at https://www.co.silverbow.mt.us/263/Historic-Preservation-Commission. We hope that all interested parties will make their opinions known by written or oral comments to the commissioners or at the meeting.