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.



Thursday, January 12, 2012

East Gagnon Street

Top: 1939. Bottom: 2011. E. Gagnon St. and Steward Mine
By Richard I. Gibson

The blog’s former background image is from the Farm Security Administration/ Office of War Information photo set acquired in 1935-44. This image was shot by Arthur Rothstein (1915-1985) in summer 1939. Robert Renouard initiated a discussion on Facebook, asking if the headframe here is the Original or the Steward—the two are nearly identical. Research and a field trip determined that the mine is the Steward and the houses in the foreground are on East Gagnon Street. 

The second row of houses visible in the middle background on East Woolman are all gone today (some others do survive on East Woolman), but the three homes in the foreground are still there. The combined image above (click to enlarge) shows a December 2011 photo from nearly the same vantage as the 1939 photo. Porches are gone, windows and chimneys have been altered, but the buildings remain. All were built in the mid- to late 1890s.

The mine building east (to right) of the headframe is the dry (change house). The dry was in almost the same position at both the Original and Steward Mines, and both are gone today.

More than 300 excellent photos of Butte from 1939-42 are in the public domain through this program. A good many of them will appear in my upcoming book, Lost Butte: Preservation and Demolition in the Nation’s Largest National Historic Landmark District, due out in Summer 2012.


“The photographs of the Farm Security Administration (FSA)-Office of War Information (OWI), transferred to the Library of Congress beginning in 1944, form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944. This U.S. government photography project was headed by Roy E. Stryker, formerly an economics instructor at Columbia University, and engaged such photographers as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, Jack Delano, Marion Post Wolcott, Gordon Parks, John Vachon, and Carl Mydans. The project initially documented the Resettlement Administration's cash loans to individual farmers, and the agency's construction of planned suburban communities. The second stage focused on the lives of sharecroppers in the South and of migratory agricultural workers in the midwestern and western states. As the scope of the project expanded, the photographers turned to recording rural and urban conditions throughout the United States and mobilization efforts for World War II.” (From the Library of Congress web site.)

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