Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Little Butte Adventure Part 2

So after my less-than-ideal hotel stay in Butte, I had 5 hours to kill in town. What's a girl to do? I actually had a lot of fun and got to see a lot of town. I started with a trip to their shopping mall. Nothing too exciting, but I was on a mission. I have a conference to attend next week and really wanted a black vest to go with my suit. Don't ask me why, but I am obsessed with this vest idea. After searching my favorite stores online, and coming up empty handed, I had doubts. But after the first store I went into in the Mall, they had about 10 different styles! Jackpot! Bought one (on sale too!) and then wandered the rest of the very small shopping center. I was feeling pretty successful at least. Looked at my watch. Now it's noon. 4 more hours. Well, this week's photo challenge by RAZMATAZ had the theme of Architectural Elements. Time to go look at some old-school architecture! If you're looking for cool old buildings, uptown Butte is the place to go. Most of them are on the national historic register and the gingerbread details are awesome. I went to my favorite building, the Charles Clark Chateau and Museum, and realized it was open! I took a bunch of photos of the outside and then paid for my indoor tour. The lady rattled off some info and then sent me on my way to explore the 4 stories. Wow! Built in 1899, it is a vintage beauty. I slowly walked the floors and imagined what it would be like to entertain and live here. The rooms are decadent. Funny though, is the 4th floor ballroom. Very elegant, but used for yoga now! So to one side was a stack of yoga mats, there were Buddha figures everywhere and incense scented the place like Nag Champa. Not quite the 1800s feel, but oh well! I spent a lot of time in the house until I started hearing weird noises. I got spooked and fled. :)
The Chateau's Salon. Hand-painted wallpaper!

Next stop? A few streets away is the Copper Kings Mansion B&B. No tours were offered in October so I instead took photos of the outside. To enter the B&B you need to ring the old brass doorbell and call the hostess. I didn't want to disturb her for a peak around the parlor, so I stayed outdoors. This building is a little rougher than the Chateau but pretty none the less. My favorite part is the huge, carved wooden front door. This house is also haunted! But by only friendly ghosts, I hear. :)After this house I drove the streets and found as many interesting buildings that I could. I didn't photograph most of them, but just took in the old-world charm. Next up? I wanted to visit the Berkeley Pit. Now, for those of you that don't know, the Pit was an open-pit mine that is now RIDICULOUSLY deep, and filled with icky mine waste. Not something a state or city should necessarily be proud of, but interesting still. I have only ever peaked through the fence surrounding it. This time I wanted to pay and go out on the platform to look at it. No luck though. It was closed. :( Shall I peak through the fence again? No...there's creepy people in the parking lot. Moving on quickly!
Berkeley Pit! (Source)
Now it's lunch time so I'm headed to my favorite bakery/deli: Hummingbird Cafe. But, I keep forgetting that I need to come from the other direction to park. I get all turned around. Keep popping up on the wrong streets. I cruise by the front of it about 100 times before I finally get a spot and stop. I must have looked like an idiot! Finally inside I order and turn on the laptop. Lots of work and fun mail to check. Then I get curious and start looking up Butte ghost stories. Eeek! Enough of that! Think of something happy instead! I stuff my face while I try to un-spook myself.
My favorite place to eat! (Source)
I end up with another hour to kill. So I go for a drive. I cruise around the outside perimeter of the city taking in the mountains (with their snow), Our Lady of the Rockies perched up in her high place of honor, and all the old scars from the mining days of this town. It's an interesting contrast to say the least. I finally end up, across the street from the mall, at a Starbucks. Instead of coffee I pull out my cell to phone my Mom and we chat away the rest of my free time. (Mid-conversation I exclaimed with glee that snowflakes were hitting my car. Wahoo!)
Our Lady of the Rockies is a 90ft figure of Mary on the top of a mountain.

Then it was finally time to work again! Off to my subject's houses for sampling, a kind goodbye to my new employee, and I was back on the highway home. The road turned dark before I made it to my own town. Lots of traffic but at least little rain or snow in my way. What an odd two days spent away, but at least I made the best of it! Check tomorrow for more of my architectural shots. :)


  1. There is a town in South Africa that has a Big hole too.

  2. Oooh, I wish I had been there with you! I LOVE a good ghost story, and looking for ghosts and visiting haunted places... what was it that spooked you in the first one? I want to go on a ghost tour! Your pictures are wonderful... Our Lady of the Rockies is so beautiful... just breathtaking! You and your mama must have such good times together, she is a doll!... xoxo Julie Marie (PS Happy "Haunting"... tee hee hee!)...

  3. There are a few big holes near me too - from the original china clay workings here in the far south west of the UK and lots of old tin and copper mine workings too, some are so old now the chimneys feel like part of the landscape..

  4. Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm happy to find you here. Interestingly enough, I have family in the Hardin and Columbus areas but have never been to the western part of the state. I have always loved visiting Montana, though. My dad would move there in a minute and never look back, but my mom won't let him. Beautiful state! I'll be happy to see more of it here!

  5. Had to smile when I read your comment about shopping for a vest in Butte. We lived in Helena many years ago; I taught at Helena Sr. High. In the teacher's lounge, I would ask, "Where's a good place to eat Italian food?" Someone would answer, "Missoula." Then I might ask, "Where can I go to buy some really quality button for a sewing project?" Someone else would answer, "Butte." It always seemed like there was going to be a 100 mile drive involved to get each little thing that I wanted. That said, we loved Montana while we were there. I remember some of the spots that you photographed, but it's been many years. Thanks for stopping by my post. Cherry Kay


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