Monday, May 30, 2011

A Trip to the Butte Hole

Matt and I have a good friend who happens to live in Missoula.  We decided to meet up in Butte, MT for a day of sightseeing and catching up.  After being underwhelmed by their first farmer's market of the year, we decided to take an historic tour.  I think we are were a little skeptic when they were based out of an "antique" shop that sold things like this:

 . . . in addition to a Michelle (from Full House) doll, lots of trolls, Michael Jackson dolls and so much more you really just have to see it yourself.  However, our tour guide was great and the locations we visited were really, really neat.  We started by passing around some ore samples.  Matthew was impressed:

Then we headed outside.  First up we took a look at what was once the tallest skyscraper in America, I think.  There were a lot of qualifying statements in the title but for an early 1900 building in Butte, MT it had steel beam construction and was pretty tall and skinny.  Works for me.

Matthew didn't know what to make of all the looking and talking to start but by the end of the tour he thought he was best buds with the guide.

Under the "skyscraper" was a dual-layer sidewalk system and this barbershop:

And behind the "vault" and then the "coat closet" was this very casual speakeasy stash and escape route:

Next up we headed to the jail under city hall. Matthew thought it was awesome.  It actually was pretty cool . . . until you realized that the jail was not one of the wild west but was still in use up until the 1970s with very few improvements.  Butte was definitely not the place to be arrested, though Evil Knevel made his appearance there quite a few times.

Next up was another, much nicer speakeasy found under a hotel. 

If you ever find yourself in Butte, I think we all would highly recommend the Old Butte Historical Adventures.  We took the underground tour and it was quite impressive.  It's definitely a unique approach to an historic tour unlike any museum or historic home/village I've ever encountered. 

After the tour we took a short break for lunch.  We ate at a neat little restaurant in a refinished bank building where we played a little pass the monkey (who was very, very well behaved on our tour thankfully!)

Then before we could leave Butte, it was time to check out the Berkeley Pit.  Due to the combo of shade in the viewing area and sun on the rocks, my pics are really washed out, but here's an image from space to give you an idea of the size:

And about what it looked like from the viewing station:

We figured one of the largest superfund/toxic sites in the US was the perfect place for some photo ops:

Delerious because we had pushed back his nap a little far, Matthew thought this was the funniest, most awesome place ever:

Matthew then proceeded to crash .5 seconds after we got into the car and onto the interstate.  All in all a great day and the only somewhat decent weather we had during Uncle Matt's visit. 

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