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. Many of these blog posts have been converted to podcast episodes, available at KBMF.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sacred Heart

Original Church, school, and rectory at 444-448 East Park Street.
The first floor continued as the school after the 1912 fire.

by Richard I. Gibson

This post was stimulated by a Facebook discussion. The focus here is only on the buildings associated with Sacred Heart, and is based on a careful look at the addresses in the City Directories and the Sanborn maps. Click on images to enlarge

The Sacred Heart parish was organized in 1901. In 1901-03, they met at 460-464 East Park, probably the early address of the building that would become the church at 448 East Park when it was completed in 1903.

original altar (destroyed in fire)
The first mass, Christmas Day 1903, opened the completed church at 448 East Park Street, on the south side of the street almost directly across from the Wright’s Drug Store that is the only surviving building in this section of the block. The building included the school, and the rectory was next door (444 E. Park). In 1907-08, the Sacred Heart Convent was built at 407 East Mercury.

The church and school stood immediately east of the Lizzie Mine yard on Park, a mine that had ceased operations by 1916. The area is part of today's revitalization on the East Side.

After the 1912 fire
A fire on November 17, 1912, severely damaged the church, but the first floor survived and continued to be used as the parochial school until 1969; it was finally torn down about 1974 as the Anaconda Company bought up properties in anticipation of expanding the Berkeley Pit to this part of town (which obviously did not happen).

A new church was built a block west and across the street, at 355 East Park (address also given as 349-363), one lot west of the corner of Covert and Park Streets, a vacant lot today. It opened in 1913 and the last mass was celebrated in that church July 1, 1970. It was demolished in 1974-75.

New church, at 355 East Park
Resources: City Directories, 1901-1975; Sanborn maps, 1900, 1916, 1951; Butte's Croatian-Slovenian Americans, by Ann Simonich. The postcard photo of the first church is public domain, circa 1904-1910; the photo of the second church is courtesy of the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives, from the Jim & Helen Edwards Collection, used by permission. Fire photos from Anaconda Standard, Nov. 18-19, 1912. Many thanks to Irene Scheidecker at the Archives for assistance.


  1. As a Sacred Heart student (class of 56) it is great to see the original church and the "new" church.

  2. I went to kindergarten there in 1967. Lived just below the gates to the Moonlight mine on Granite street. I would love to see any and all photos of Finntown.