Looking East, Butte




Miners named this industrial town, now the Silver Bow County seat, for Big Butte, a nearby landform. It was known as Butte City until the name of the post office officially changed to Butte in 1890.

Gold and silver drove the town’s population from 40 men and 5 women in 1866 to 14,000 residents by 1885, but it was copper, critical to the electrification of the United States, that gave Butte a 41 percent share of the world copper market and a population estimated at 85,000 by 1916. The city’s mineral wealth drew innovative mining technology, capital from the likes of George Hearst and John D. Rockefeller, and 5 railroad lines. Workers came from more than 60 nations to work for the Anaconda Company and its supporting businesses and industries. Open-pit mining began in 1955. In the next few decades, the Berkeley Pit slowly swallowed historic neighborhoods, but spectacular mansions, commercial buildings, and workers’ cottages built in the shadows of the tall steel headframes remain to tell Butte’s colorful history.

Today some mining continues in the Continental Pit. The town is now part of the extended Butte-Anaconda Historic District National Historic Landmark, created in 2006.

Elevation: 5,549 ft. Location: Silver Bow County

Latitude and Longitude

46.00389099, -112.53388977



GNIS Name and ID

Butte / 780689