Previous posts about the M&B block are here and here.
|1979 HABS/HAER photo. |
The Creamery Café, commemorated in the prominent ghost sign on the east face of the M&B building (and a less prominent one on the west face), occupied part of the ground floor here from 1913 until 1957. The Café moved to the M&B on Broadway following the devastating fire on North Main, its original location.
Theo McCabe and Roy McClelland both came to Butte in 1903, and in July 1903 partnered to establish a restaurant in the basement at 36 North Main Street. Four years later, the Creamery Cafe subscribed to the Independent Telephone Company’s network (phone no. 5058), and the partners each had home phones as well, at 502 South Washington and 662 Colorado, respectively.
|36 N. Main St. circa 1904.|
The fire burned out several businesses, wiping out almost the entire inventory of the McDonald Shoe Company, a $22,000 loss. Residents in Mrs. Josephine Bietz’ rooming house on the upper floors barely escaped with their scant night clothes; several ailing residents had to be carried out as the flames reached their apartment doors. Mrs. Bietz had been burned out when her lodging house was in the Harvard Block on West Park, destroyed in the huge conflagration that wiped out the Symons Stores and more in 1905 (Phoenix Block today). Several pets were killed in the fire, but no humans were injured seriously.
|July 30, 1912. D'Acheul building at right,|
Creamery Cafe in building at left.
The three destroyed buildings were replaced in short order by three more, including two that survive today: the Rookwood Hotel/Speakeasy (and BS Café) at 24-26 N. Main, and the three-story building next door which holds a Ley’s Jewelry ghost sign. All the buildings in the rest of the block adjacent to these buildings, all of which survived the 1912 fire, were lost in conflagrations in 1969 (buildings to the north to Broadway) and 1973 (Medical Arts Center fire south to Park).
Sources: Montana Catholic Newspaper (Butte), January 21, 1905, including interior shot of café; Sanborn Maps (1900, 1916); City Directories (1903-1957); Anaconda Standard (fire image) and Butte Miner for July 31, 1912; ghost sign photo from 1979 HABS/HAER survey, via Library of Congress (public domain).