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.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Butte’s Canine Population, 1910

By Richard I. Gibson

(Click pictures to enlarge)

Monte Christo
“Butte has more dogs for a city of its size than any town in America. This is the opinion of every traveler who ever stopped off on his way east or west and of every citizen, be he dog fancier or dog hater, who has taken the time to think of something besides business. And it’s true.”

“You see dogs everywhere. On leashes and off leashes, on the run, on the sneak, on the yelp or on some other less fortunate brother dog’s neck.” 
Butte Evening News, Feb. 20, 1910

The Butte Kennel Club was organized in 1907 with James Keefe as its president and architect Herman Kemna among its first members. By 1910 the club had grown to 70 members, active in breeding and showing dogs across the nation. Bally Tip, Keefe’s Airedale, was touted by the Butte Evening News as “one of the greatest dogs in the country.” Airedales seemed to be a favorite in Butte, with more than 60 in residence in 1910 and at least six that had taken blue ribbons in national competitions. “Butte stands supreme” in the entire nation in terms of winning Airedales, the News bragged.

Keefe was proprietor of the Post-Office News Stand at 27 West Park. His home where Bally Tip presumably lived was at 313 S. Dakota. Kemna lived at 635 South Main. Keefe’s house is still standing, but Kemna’s appears to be gone.

The fancy house at 303 South Idaho (southwest corner of Idaho and Silver) once housed Butte’s Bachelors’s Club, and their mascot, Bach, an English Bull. Fire Chief Pete Sanger’s collie Flossie held forth at the Station on Quartz Street (today’s Archives building) as the Fire Department mascot. Flossie came to Butte direct from Scotland.

Dr. E.F. Maginn of 635 W. Granite (a home designed by Butte architect Henry Patterson) had “a string of silver cups long enough to go round a small hall,” won by his English Bull Terrier Monte Christo and other canines.

Sources: Butte Evening News, Feb. 20, 1910 (photos and quotes); Dogdom, v. 8, 1907, p. 956 (Kemna letter); city directories; Sanborn maps.

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