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.


Historical Research

I’m the author of Lost Butte, Montana, and this blog. I've been researching Butte history for about seven years in connection with historical tours and other publications. My background as an oil exploration geologist was based in basic research.

I’m happy to try to answer questions about Butte history, including details about houses or other buildings, and other things that are fairly straightforward to address. This includes a quick check of information at the Butte archives, subject to my schedule.

I don’t do detailed genealogical research, but I’m happy to do additional research for those who cannot do their own at the Archives, such as determining addresses, time of residence, information about the house or place of business, for ancestors. If this takes an hour or more, I ask for payment of $10 per hour.

In any case, feel free to ask. Usually I can reply with something pretty quickly. If it looks like it will take enough time to cost you $10 or $20, I’ll let you know before proceeding.

Generally, unless requested otherwise, anything I do for free or for pay I would consider fair game for a blog post or inclusion in tours. Significant private information—unlikely to have been uncovered in any case—would of course be excluded.

Contact me at rigibson@earthlink.net 

Tour Services

In addition to working for the Butte Chamber of Commerce as a trolley guide and Old Butte Historical Adventures as a contract  walking tour guide, I offer customized historical tours of Butte and vicinity. Examples include

  • Private above-ground walking tours (can include inside locations by arrangement). I’ve done this for tourists, for organizations who have job applicants in town, and others.
  • Step-on tour guide services. I’ve done this for groups ranging from individuals or families in their own car, for organized bus tours, and for conferences and conventions in the area.
  • Comprehensive multi-day Smithsonian-style tour packages.
  • Integrated thematic tours involving other guides and organizations, ranging from the Clark Fork Watershed Education Project for environmental tours to Butte Citizens For Preservation And Revitalization for stained glass tours, cemetery tour experts, and more. 
  • Thematic tours such as Labor History or Mining History tours.
If you have a group and want to take the trolley or some version of the walking tours, I can plan customized tours. Basically you would arrange with the Chamber for the trolley or with Old Butte Historical Adventures, and request me, or ask me to devise an itinerary for your group.

For more information, please see my web site

Lecture Services

I’m happy to give talks on many aspects of Butte History (as well as geology, oil exploration, kidney stones, and more) to civic and other groups in Butte. Generally, all I would ask for such talks would be a meal, if the group meeting includes one.

I also give evening lectures to groups spending the night in Butte at hotels.

Some possible geoscience topics are listed here and Butte history topics are here. Costs are negotiable.


  1. I recently got some family letters and one had the letterhead of Parchen & D'Acheul Dec. 22, 1881. This letter was to Martin Ruehling in Alden, NY (near Buffalo). It tells about the distibution of his son William Ruehlings effects. William (age 21)died on Sept. 28, 1881 and was employed by Parchen. I would like to know what he died from? Also it is interesting that Henry Parchen named his last son "Ruehling A. Parchen". My GGrandfather Martin also came from Prussia & so may have known him at one time. Please let me know if this is something you can to and how much it would cost. If you would like a copy of the letter, I could email it to you. I prefer to corrospond by email. 3cats

    1. Hello, you can email me at rigibson@earthlink.net. 1881 is challenging because of the lack of city directories, but I will see what I can do. It will be next week before I can get to the Archives. Thanks for your interest.