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.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Park your horse, sir?

Main Street liveries in 1884. Click to enlarge.
Stables were the garages of the 1800s, and prospering Butte had plenty. In 1884, in the area bounded by Jackson, Caledonia, Arizona, and Silver Streets at least 102 stables protected an unknown number of horses and other stock.

Three of the largest commercial livery stables stepped up Main Street, beginning with T.M. Carr’s Livery & Feed at the southeast corner of Main and Mercury. Carr had carriages available, and a large fenced feed corral adjacent to the stable accommodated plenty of horses. A block north, at the southeast corner of Galena and Main, Star Livery also provided carriages. That location was more or less in Butte’s Chinatown, which centered on Galena and Main in those days.

By far the largest space for a transportation provider was Owsley and Cowan’s Transfer Line Stables. Their stable and office complex stood at the northeast corner of Park and Main, later (1888-91) to become the huge Owsley Block (Butte Business College, Medical Arts Center—which burned in 1973 to leave the present parking lot). In 1884 this 140’x80’ conglomeration included an office, a 2-story lodging house, a cigar store, hay lofts above the stalls on the first floor and in the basement, and a carriage house with wash room and dressing rooms for drivers. The Owsley company probably also controlled the attached saloon and card room to the north.  A brothel was conveniently located just to the east on Park Street.

Look for more on William Owsley in future posts.

Image from Bird's-Eye View of Butte, 1884, from Library of Congress.

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