By Richard I. Gibson
(Click any image to enlarge)
The work began in April, 1913, with the foundation laid out on April 29. By May 8, foundation forms were to have been started. The schedule called for frame up on May 23, and “shingles all on roof” May 24. The huge chimney would take two weeks to build, from May 31 to June 14. But with flooring in on June 21 and trim installed June 23, the work would be done in about two months.
Munroe’s drawings are true to the ultimate appearance of the house. Compare the sketch above to this recent photo by the Montana Standard. The house has been in the news lately because of the potential for demolition; once a caretaker no longer occupied it, it became a target for vandals. The city–county offered it for potential moving to another site, on a developer’s packet, and while one applicant proposed to restore it on site, and live in it to prevent further vandalism (which has been intense even in the past month), the proposals in 2012 were rejected and the city-county still owns the house and has not determined its fate.
The park below the Basin Creek Dam, where the caretaker’s house is located, was for many years a recreational spot and destination for Butte’s residents, by most accounts second only to Columbia Gardens as a playground for an enjoyable outing. Map
133 West Broadway (the Morris Block) above what is now Wilhelm’s Floral Shop. He evidently found time to fish, although based on the note with the fish drawing, it might have been caught by George Corbett. All his drawings recall the enjoyment and professionalism of a house builder of 100 years ago.
Thanks to Mitzi Rossillon and Irene Scheidecker for discovering the notebook and providing access to it. Photos of notebook sketches by Richard Gibson; notebook in Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives collection.