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10 Quick Facts About Butte, Montana

Montana is a state full of history and beauty, and the town of Butte no exception. With a rich mining history, strong community and central location, Butte is a unique and wonderful place to live. Here are ten quick facts about Butte, Montana.

1. Butte Was the First Major City in Montana

In the late 1800s, right around when Montana was becoming a state, Butte was created as a silver and gold mining camp. After the turn of the century, however, copper became the main output of the mines of Butte.

Downtown Butte

2. Butte Once Had over 100,000 Citizens

In the early 1900s, as Butte’s nickname “The Richest Hill on Earth” was taking hold thanks to the copper mines, the population was over 100,000 people. At that time, Butte was the largest city between Chicago and San Francisco.

3. Butte Has a Huge Irish Population

Because of the mining success, immigrants from all over the world began to flock to Butte. By 1900, one-fourth of the city’s residents were Irish, and the population is still full of people with Irish blood. Because of this, Butte is often known for its huge Saint Patrick’s Day parade and other Irish festivals.

4. Butte Once Supplied Over 25% of the World’s Copper

Even though the mines began by extracting silver and gold, once electricity made it possible for the extraction of copper Butte’s output took off. In the 1890s, Butte supplied over 25% of the world’s copper and over 50% of the United States’ copper. 

Drawing of Butte Mining Days

5. Butte is Home to The World Museum of Mining

With over 50 exhibit buildings, endless artifacts and an underground mine tour, The World Museum of Mining is an amazing resource to anyone interested in the development of Butte and mining history. 

6. Butte’s Current Population is Under 40,000 People

With less than half of Butte’s peak population of over 100,000 people, today Butte is the fifth largest city in Montana.

7. Butte’s Montana Tech Enrolls Over 2,500 Students Each Year

Montana Tech is a popular university for both undergraduate and graduate studies in Montana. Obtaining a wide variety of degrees including everything from business to engineering, thousands of students choose to study at Montana Tech each year.

Montana Tech Sign

8. Butte Is Nearly Surrounded by Public Land

Many Montanans and tourists who visit the area love to enjoy the great outdoors. For Butte residents, finding public land to enjoy is quick and easy. Nearly surrounded by Beaverhead / Dearlodge National Forest, Butte community members can enjoy the mountains, streams, and trails of Montana with ease. 

9. Butte Is Home to the Oldest Chinese Restaurant in America

Along with a large influx of Irish immigrants mentioned in fact number three above Butte was, and still is, home to many Chinese immigrants. Pekin Noodle Parlor, the oldest continuously running Chinese restaurant in America, is a living artifact from Butte’s original Chinese immigrants. 

10. Many Signs of Butte’s Mining Heyday Still Exist

While Butte is no longer a bustling mining town, there are many artifacts remaining such as the fourteen headframes, Berkeley Pit and well-mined hillside, just to name a few. These artifacts continue to remind Butte community members and visitors of the city’s roots and unique history.

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