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.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Greeley School

Silver Bow Park neighborhood
Thornton Street at Park Place
Built: c. 1898

Greeley School was built along with many others in Butte as a response to the exploding population in the late 1890s. First through Eighth Grades were taught at Greeley in its early years. Following are some of the staff at Greeley in 1905 and 1910, revealing a diversity of origins, and residences scattered all over town.

  • Principal Mary Moran, Montana native, 15 years experience (13 in Butte)
  • Marguerite McDonald (New York), 6 years experience (4 in Butte), graduated State Normal School, Winona Minn.
  • Bertha Konen (Illinois), 3 years (7 months Butte)
  • Annie Moses (Michigan), 1 year (7 months Butte)
  • Kathleen McDonald (Michigan), 5 (3)
  • Bessie Vaughn (Wisconsin), 2, (7 mo.)
  • Ida Hillas (Ontario), 13 (3)
  • Harriet Ballon (Zanesville, Ohio), 17 (3)

In 1910, only one teacher from 1905 was still at Greeley:

Principal Kate Stafford. Teachers: Anna Sennett, Elsa Fasel, Mary Harrington, Ada Myersick, Fannie Spooner, Alice Maguire, Kathleen McDonald. Janitor: John Boyd.

John Boyd the Janitor lived at 525 W. Silver. Principal Kate Stafford roomed in the Pennsylvania Block on Park Street. Ada Myersick roomed at 1212 E. Second St. Kathleen McDonald – 606 W. Park. Fannie Spooner – 207 W. Park.  Mary Harrington – 185 E. Center. Elsa Fasel roomed at The Dorothy (corner of Granite and Wyoming).

Alice Maguire – 807 W. Galena (with Mary (widow of John), Nellie, and Grace. Perhaps Mary was the mother of three sisters, all of whom were teachers). Anna Sennett – 411 W. Quartz, where she lived with Helen Sennett, teacher at Emerson, along with other Sennetts: James – clerk Hennessy’s; John – miner; Mary – stenographer; Nora (widow Michael) – grocer 306 N. Jackson. 411 W. Quartz was a busy place for such a small home!

Third Graders at the Greeley School in 1905 were to be able to answer these questions:
How were the canyons and gulches formed? What would the level valley south of town indicate? What are sand, clay, loam, alluvium? Note.—Some of the most common properties of the minerals (quartz, feldspar and mica) could be taught here with profit.
On the subject of language,
The chief result to be obtained from the study of language is power of expression rather than a knowledge of grammar. The power of expression, however, is useless unless one has something to express. In this branch of work it follows, therefore, that the activities are two-fold, (1) the getting of knowledge, and (2) the proper facility in giving expression thereto.

Third graders would read Robinson Crusoe.

Greeley had served as a community center for several years before it closed in 2004. After several years of discussion among the Butte School District, County Commissioners, and the Public Housing Authority, with nothing coming of it, in 2013 the school was sold to Doug Ingraham who plans to try to save the historic building and return it to viable use.

Resources: Annual Report of the Board of Education and City Superintendent of Schools, Vol. 18, 1905; digitized by Butte Public Library (source of photo).


  1. This isn't the building that's there now. The current building doesn't have a second floor.

    1. The west wing of the existing building dates to before 1900, although it has been modified. I think, but I'm not certain, that the central core of the building is also the original structure. Its second floor was removed after 1957, and the modern wings on the north, east, and south side were built after that.