.All Trips / Central USA / Montana / North America

Signs of Butte

21 Signs of Butte

Often in my travels I wish I could see a destination as it was years before I’ve gotten there — that I had access to H.G. Wells’ Time Machine so I could select exactly when to drop into a city or town.  In the case of Butte, Montana, I would set that Time Machine for circa 1900.  What a grand city I’d find when I arrived!  One of the largest, most developed new cities of the American West, with beautiful lavish hotels, elegant restaurants, theaters and other attractions, Butte was the place to be!  Funded by the wealth harvested from the mines of the “Richest Hill on Earth”, Butte was booming.

Jump forward a century and what you find is quite different.  Most …

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.All Trips / Central USA / Colorado / North America

National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, Leadville, Colorado

01 Leadville Museum of Mining 09-2014

Leadville is the highest altitude town to be occupied year round in the United States, situated at 3094 m (10,592 ft) above sea level.  The area was a booming silver mining town in the late 19th century and while the mining era is all but over, relics of it are still plentiful around Leadville.

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) offers an interesting look at the geology and mining of the region, and its Hall of Fame portion recognizes the men and women who were important mining pioneers.  A relatively new institution, the nonprofit NMHFM was founded in 1977 and the building it occupies renovated in 1987.  Initially it was to be on the grounds of the Colorado …

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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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Silver Plume, Colorado

01 Silver Plume

I love going on leisurely road trips — the kind where you’ve several spare hours to pull over somewhere and explore.  If a place seems interesting, I like to check it out.

So it was this past summer while we were visiting Colorado.  We were heading east to Boulder, with a planned stop for lunch in Georgetown, and were cruising on I-70.  We starting to look for the Georgetown exit when immediately ahead was an exit for “Silver Plume”.  Great name, got to explore it!

Silver Plume is located in Clear Creek County and is a former silver mining town.   It’s just 46 miles (74 km) from Denver, but worlds apart from that huge busy city.  The town is situated along gushing Clear Creek …

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