.All Trips / Central USA / Montana / North America

Butte, Montana’s Hole in the Ground: A visit to the Berkeley Pit

21 Berkeley Pit Butte Montana.  Courtesy NASA

When most people think of Montana, images of mountains or “Big Sky country” or wildlife spring to mind.  Usually you don’t think of a massive hole in the ground, but a destination of interest is the Berkeley Pit, a now closed open-pit copper mine in the historic town of Butte.

By the end of the 19th century, mines around Butte had yielded a lot of gold, silver and copper, earning the town the nickname, “richest hill on earth”.  As electricity demand across America increased and more wiring was needed, the growing demand for copper made Butte a boom-town in the early 20th century.  Copper mining in Butte historically had required a complex network of underground drains and pumps to lower the …

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