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, July 29, 2015

Entering Butte, 1939

by Richard I. Gibson

Since I did the research for a Facebook request, I thought I'd add this documentation for another of the Library of Congress images.

This photo is from summer 1939, taken by Arthur Rothstein as part of the Office of War Information / Farm Security Administration series. The location is the 1000-1100 block of East Park – East Galena Place – East Galena, where they intersect Parrot St. which is probably more or less the street behind the sign, but US Hwy 91 cut through there at an angle to the streets and this sign is likely on Hwy 91 at the city limits.

So, this is part of the East Side / East Butte (not Meaderville, not McQueen) and the area is pretty close to where the Pit viewing stand is today, or a bit toward the pit from there. The mine at far right behind the shacks is probably the Pennsylvania Mine complex, which is within the pit today. The mine in the distance, right of the word “Butte” in the sign, is probably the Anaconda Mine (also within the pit today) but I’m not sure. The East Side Volunteer Fire Station is the newer-looking building to the immediate right of the word “limit” on the sign.

This and many similar from that era are available from the Library of Congress.    

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Butte Light

Guest Blog Post by Geoff Weston, Newcastle, England.

When I started to write this I thought I’d check what it says about light in the dictionary and I note it’s also known as luminous energy.

That’s particularly true for me in Butte, Montana. I spent a month there in June as a visiting English artist and every day (except mid-summers day when the weather turned British) the light was breathtaking. It wasn’t the reason I came to Butte but it was one of the reasons I so enjoyed being there.

The morning light in particular. So many mornings I was out early with my camera searching out that luminosity. The American photographer Robert Adams writes about the alchemy of light, about its ability to transform even the most mundane of objects. I was lucky enough to be on hand to record that in Butte.

I very rarely see that quality of light in the UK. Occasionally by the coast or after a sharp frost that clears the air you might get something similar but the luminosity here is farther down the scale.

Of course light is the photographer’s raw material. That doesn’t mean you always want sunshine, but if you do, and you want the sort of sunlight that illuminates whatever it is you’re photographing, then Butte offers something special. Something luminous.

Herewith are some of Geoff's photographic visions of Butte's light.