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.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Walkerville party


By Richard I. Gibson

H.O. Christenson, the invitee, was a clerk; George Holbrook was a carpenter. William E. Hall was superintendent of the Alice Mine, and Frank Kramlick was proprietor of the American House hotel on the north side of West Daly Street in Walkerville (the labeled building on the Bird’s-Eye view is probably the American House, but not for certain).

George Hillebrand was foreman at the Lexington Stamp Mill (the “new” mill in Walkerville, not the old one that stood at present-day Lexington Gardens, Broadway at Wyoming Street) and Carroll, Reimel, and Coppedge were mill workers there. The mill was connected to the Lexington Mine on Main Street by a series of trestles.

Walkerville and the Lexington Mine and Mill (click to enlarge)


Fisher was an amalgamator at the Alice. He would have worked the machines that combined mercury with gold to free it from the rock. N.C. Anderson was a miner and Charles Bruhn was a butcher, the Butte partner of Nick Bielenberg in a meat market.

All the members of the party committee lived in Walkerville at a time when there were no street addresses, though most of the streets were probably there and named. They all lived on Daly or Main St except for Anderson, who lived on Dunn.

The AOUW was the Ancient Order of United Workmen, a fraternal organization that began in Meadeville, PA, in 1868. Its goal was to adjust “all differences which may arise between employers and employees, and to labor for the development of a plan of action that may be beneficial to both parties, based on the eternal truth that the interests of labor and capital are equal and should receive equal protection.” Members paid $1 into a private insurance fund for members’ survivors—the AOUW was the first fraternal organization to offer this. By the middle 1920s, lodges were merging and insurance took precedence over the fraternal aspects. The organization eventually evolved into the Pioneer Mutual Life and other insurance companies.

The Walkerville Hibernia (AOH) hall where the ball took place stood on Main Street just south of the intersection with Daly.

Invitation and envelope from Steve Henderson’s collection (scanned by him). The postmark appears to be 1889, but it is a smudged 1885. It would not have been a "Montana Terr." postmark in Dec. 1889, since Montana was a state at that time. Bird’s-Eye view, 1884, from Library of Congress, annotated by Gibson.

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