By Richard I. Gibson
Scott Robert Fair was born November 26, 1857, in St. John, New Brunswick, to parents who were natives of Ireland. Fairville, today a neighborhood in St. John, was named for his father, the first resident there. Scott Robert began to study pharmacy in Boston when in his late teens. After working in Boston and New York, he came to Montana about 1889.
By 1893 he had established (with assayer Olof Bergstron) a drug store and assay supply outlet at 137 East Park, on the northwest corner with Arizona Street. He at least dabbled in mining, establishing the Mayflower Mine south of Whitehall—which by about 1896 he had sold to W.A. Clark for a reported $150,000. The Mayflower went on to produce more than 225,000 ounces of gold and 875,000 ounces of silver for Clark and later the Anaconda Company, a total value of around $3 million by 1961, most of it in 1896-1901. New owners in the 2000s have been testing and drilling to evaluate re-opening the Mayflower.
|Invoice, dated Dec. 30, 1900, |
to The Butte General Electric Co.,
purchased 45¢ worth of tubing
and paid the bill 1/17/1901
Among the products available at Fair’s Drug was a special “pneumonia mixture,” touted as a cure and sold to treat miners’ consumption (silicosis).
The Fairs participated in Butte’s high society. Caroline Fair attended affairs with Mrs. A.H. Heilbronner, Mrs. Reno Sales (he was chief geologist for the Anaconda Company) and many others.
The Fairs continued to run the drug store in the Arizona Hotel until about 1936-37, when Ben Gunnary took over. The original drug store building, 115 E. Park, served as the Union Grill for most of the 1930s and was known as Frank’s Café in 1954. In the late 1950s and early 1960s both 115 E. Park (Jim’s Trading Post) and the Arizona Hotel corner store were used furniture shops.
|Arizona Hotel c. 1919|
About 1969, the present building went up on the site of 115 E. Park and that half of the block. It held Currie’s Tire & Appliance Center for years, and many still refer to it as the tire store. Where it stands today, in 1900 there were nine storefronts on Park and five more on Wyoming, plus various outbuildings. Among the businesses were a tent manufacturing factory, two restaurants, a Chinese tailor, two saloons, one bakery, an auto dealer, a hat shop, a sausage factory, a liquor store, and a cleaner.
Sources: The Story of Butte, Butte Bystander, April 15, 1897 (source of main photo), in Gibson’s collection; The History of Montana, by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, Volume 3, 1913; Congressional Record, Montana Senatorial Election Hearings, Feb. 5, 1900; Anaconda Standard, May 21-22, 1914; August 12, 1912; June 30, 1907; March 24, 1901; Sept. 21, 1963; Advertisement from Souvenir History of the Butte Fire Dept., 1901, Butte Public Library scan; Invoice, dated Dec. 30, 1900, to The Butte General Electric Co., purchased 45¢ worth of tubing and paid the bill 1/17/1901, via Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History (Ft Missoula); City Directories; Sanborn maps.