The richest hill on Earth

6 posts


This is a very neat scan of an expose on Butte, which at one time contained one of the most lucrative copper mining operations on earth. If anyone has seen the HBO series Deadwood, the bit on the conflict between the Welsh miners and the management may well have been inspired by Butte, since large number of Welsh, Irish, Cornish, and Slavic workers emigrated there in the late 19th C. when the mining was really getting going.

The wealth created by this and the many other natural resource booms of the states led to some really beautiful American Victorian neighborhoods and mansions in the cores of several Montana cities. They seem like they were pulled straight from New England or the South.

The only one I've been inside is the Conrad mansion in Kalispell, which has servants quarters, passages, gigantic ovens, all that cool stuff. From the outside it's not that spectacular, or a very ornate example of Victorian architecture, but you're really struck on the inside by how even just around the turn of the century homes like this were built with a purpose, as a sort of "venue of nobility", not just to be comfortable. I've been in some huge McMansions, but the space is always used in a very boring way, just to produce comfort. This house was built not just to house an extended family, but to impress guests, have functions, and the values of it's creators are expressed in the interior dimensions. Unfortunately they generally don't allow photos of the interior.



The obligatory inclusion of the Daly mansion, which is the most famous Montana mansion, so famous maybe someone outside has hear of it.