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.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

What was there? 400 block of East Park

By Richard I. Gibson

Today, the north side of this 800-foot-long block contains three dwellings near the west (Covert St.) end, and one old building about mid-block, the apparently abandoned Wright’s Drug Store (above). But in 1916 this stretch contained five stores, 8 single-family homes plus 8 more alley houses, one saloon, two large stables, a creamery, the drug store, a two-story lodging house, and a total of 28 flats (apartments) in three separate buildings.

The surviving store at about the center of the block (#445), with the Wright’s Pharmacy ghost sign on it (“Try Hoyer’s Magic Liniment”), was built before 1900; the ghost sign is a modern repainting. Sometime around 1910 or so, a rank of five connected buildings, containing four flats each, was constructed stepping up the hill to the north. Addresses there were 449A through 449S East Park Street, and they stood almost against the east wall of the drug store still standing today. They were lost sometime after 1979; both images of these flats (at right) are from the HAER photo record of Butte from 1979, via Library of Congress.

Next to the east, beyond narrow front yards for the flats at 449, was the creamery at 457-459 E. Park, which occupied a long narrow building built before 1890 as a saloon. A more recent, smaller saloon abutted the Creamery to the east in 1916, the only saloon on this side of the street in this block.

Almost directly across the street on Park’s south side, the Lizzie Mine (not operating in 1916), a home, and Sacred Heart School faced the drug store, flats, and creamery in 1916. In addition, the south side of the street in the 400 block held the large C.O.D. Laundry complex at Covert, four stores, another saloon, and 25 more flats and lodging houses. This was a busy block in 1916.

Resources: Sanborn maps.

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