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 10, 2013

Butte Country Club

By Richard I. Gibson

The Butte Country Club, first in Montana and the first golf course in the state, began in 1899, probably as a polo club on South Montana Street. By 1905, the organization was installing the golf course around Lake Avoca on the east side of the Flats. Initially the course had sand greens, but eventually (1939, after Lake Avoca was drained in the early 1930s) the first grass greens in Montana were established there.

The first clubhouse burned down in the 1940s, and the replacement was itself replaced in the 1960s. Popular and up-scale, the Butte Country Club saw Evel Knievel teamed with boxer Joe Louis in a 1976 tournament.

The stock certificate here, from 1911, was issued to Joseph Oppenheimer, part of Butte’s elite who has appeared in these posts previously. He only owned four shares at $25 each, a small investment compared to his other ventures.

The certificate is countersigned by President Frederick McCrimmon, a physician and surgeon who lived at 313 West Broadway in a notable house designed in 1896 by prominent architect Henry Patterson. The first owner was Thomas Newton, who ran the Butte Iron Works. Newton left Butte about 1902; McCrimmon lived in the home from about 1902 to 1918. McCrimmon was seriously injured July 18, 1915, in a crash between a motorcycle and an automobile, but survived.

Resources: The Montana Tavern Times, December, 2008 (by Paul Vang); Journal of the American Medical Association, V. 65, 1915; Stock Certificate in Dick Gibson’s collection.

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