1955: The Open Pit Mine Era

The Berkeley Pit In 1955, mining in Butte saw the light, literally. Excavation on what would become the Berkeley Pit, named from one of several nearby historic underground mines that the Pit would later swallow, began that year in a transition from underground to open pit mining. The Pit would, in the next decade, swallow [...]

1900s: Environmental Consequences

Silver Bow Creek Becomes an Industrial Sewer The intensive mining and smelting underway in Butte and Anaconda had serious environmental consequences for the entire Upper Clark Fork Basin, consequences that have persisted for over 100 years and that will continue to require community attention and management for the foreseeable future. By the turn of the [...]

1870s-1900s: Copper and Development

Butte Booms With the discovery of gold and other valuable minerals in Montana, development quickly followed. Trappers and explorers had been active in western Montana as early as the 1830s; however, white settlement of this western Montana would not become significant until future governor of Washington Isaac Stevens and his group, which included Lieutenant John [...]

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