Saturday, September 19, 2009

Butte and beyond

This morning we took a little tour of Butte and this place has a fascinating history.  It began as a gold rush town in the 1870s but its main claim to fame is copper.  It’s known as the richest hill on earth and at its height it s populations was 125,000.  Butte’ s historic district contains literally thousands of 19th and early 20th century buildings as well as the steel head frames from the many mines that dotted the landscape.  These machines lowered miners to a network of more than 2,000 miles of tunnels under the hill. The city has a rich history including strikes and disasters.  It was dominated by the Anaconda Copper Company whose owners built mansions and theatres and banks in Butte.  We took a little tour around the old buildings and up to the big open pit where copper was mined from 1955 to the present day.  We saw elaborate buildings, rooming houses and the remains of little shacks.  One of the things we remembered on this tour was just how difficult life was for most people back then. 
Butte's population now is only about 33,000 and many buildings have been torn down but there still remain many fascinating vacant buildings.  It has the feeling of a living ghost town. These are a few of the buildings we saw.

This afternoon we headed off for a short trip of 75 miles to Bozeman, but it seems that Miss Mohita has ongoing issues with heat and hills.  She had another “hot flash” episode about 10 miles past the continental divide.

We sat by the side of the road for an hour waiting for the engine to cool down so we could start her up again. It seems she is prone to vapour lock at certain temperatures and especially at higher altitudes.  We're still wanting to head into Yellowstone Park which has mountains but we've decided to travel early in the day when it's hopefully a little cooler.

1 comment:

  1. hi joanna - and there i was thinking butte would be a sort of streets of laredo type history. i had no idea of the mining heritage at all!!! 2,000 miles of tunnels - can you imagine what went into each metre of those tunnels being hacked out?!! poor old mohita - it's good that you guys are patient!!! safe journey. steven


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