Lost Butte, Montana, a book by Richard I. Gibson, is in stores and museum gift shops around Butte. Or order from the publisher. It's also in E-book formats at all the usual places. And read an interview with Gibson, here, and on KXLF here. The Facebook page has many historic photos of Butte, and the Butte-Anaconda NHLD project showcases many historic buildings. Location-oriented posts can be found on HistoryPin. On Mondays beginning in January 2016, look for Gibson's "Mining City History" column in the Montana Standard.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fagan's Pharmacy, Meaderville

Labels from Dick Gibson's collection
by Richard I. Gibson

Fagan’s Pharmacy at 52 Main Street in Meaderville was managed by William F. Fagan who opened the store in 1922 following ten years as a pharmacist at various places in Butte. He dealt in “drugs, prescriptions, paints, and calcamine” – the latter was a white or tinted liquid containing zinc oxide, water, glue, and coloring matter, used as a wash or light paint for walls and ceilings. William appeared in Butte in 1913 when he was a druggist for Paxson and Rockefeller at 24 W. Park Street. With his wife Mathilda he lived at various locations around Butte—412 S. Dakota, 658 Travonia, 1109 W. Galena—before moving to 77 Main in Meaderville by the 1950s. He operated the pharmacy at least until 1954; the establishment continued as Farrens Village Drug and Sundries until the location was vacated in 1961. The Fagans relocated to 2209½ Cottonwood in 1963 as Meaderville was destroyed by expanding Berkeley Pit operations.

Fagan’s was at the corner of Main and Noble Streets, a few hundred yards from the Leonard mine, and the Combination Mine—not operating by 1916, but soon rejuvenated as the Reins Shaft of the Leonard—was even closer, up the street to the north adjacent to the Italian Mission at #76 Main. Two saloons flanked Fagan’s to the north; another stood to the east on Noble Street and yet another was across Noble to the south.

The large two-story building across Main from Fagan’s housed a saloon (#53 Main), a moving picture theater (#55), and a restaurant (#57-59), with a meeting hall above them in 1916. By the late 1920’s, Teddy Traparish, Peter Antonioli and Louis Bugni established the first Rocky Mountain Cafe at 53 Main. That building burned in 1940 and the Rocky Mountain Café was moved down the street where it enjoyed huge success and international renown. The Rocky Mountain Café closed in 1961 as the Pit grew, but the back bar survived: Traparish gave it to the World Museum of Mining. In 2011, the Mining Museum loaned it to Headframe Spirits distillery (21 S. Montana) where it returned to regular use once again.

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