Its really beautiful here there are mountains in almost every direction that we look in, some well over 10,000 feet and snow still on many of them. It gets hot late afternoon and then has been cooling down into the 40s at night and cool all morning. We have been turning the AC on when we go out and then can turn it off almost as soon as the sun sets.
Our plan for today was to go in to Butte. I called Walmart to verify that our RXs were ready and they were. We headed into the city before noon. Bonnie needed some paperwork notarized, so we picked a bank and pulled in. While Bonnie was in the bank I called the Chamber of Commerce to see if we could get on the 12:30 Trolley and they said sure. So papers signed we headed to the Trolley.
Russ our driver said load up and I think there were 9 of us on the trip. We have really enjoyed our Trolley trips in other cities. I must say this one was not up to the others standards. Russ needs a little enthusiasm and he was a bit hard to hear and understand for me. The tour was to be 2 hours but we were done in just over an hour.
However we did learn a lot of interesting facts and details about Butte. But I think there is so much more that could have filled the second hour. Most of Buttes history centers around the mines. At first they were looking for gold but did not find much. They knew about the copper but it did not become important until the inventions of electric and the telephone. Then they needed the copper to make the wire. The copper came out of the Hill above Butte there were 17 or 18 deep mines up there. Head frames for a lot them still remains.
This mine was over a mile deep. It was 100 degrees at the bottom. There are over 10,000 miles of mines under the city.
Vein mining was not getting enough copper and so in the BerkleyPit mine opened in 1955 and operated until 1982
This mine was over 1800 feet to the bottom and about a mile across. Hard to believe the amount of ore taken out of here in 27 years. The ore was sent to a concentrator nearby and then sent to the smelter here in Anaconda.
Once the pumps were turned off the pit began to fill with water. Because of all the minerals etc in the ground the water is very acidic around a 2. They say that is like cola or vinegar. If you look close you can see a building on the far side on the right side of the picture. Its a pretty big building but the mine is huge. It was built to treat the water and can treat about 5000 gallons a minute. The level in the pit is nearing the bed rock level and when it does they will have to turn on the pumps and treat the water to keep it out of the water supply. This area is part of a federal super site area and is slowly being cleaned up. They say the water in the creeks used run red.
There is still one working pit mine in town run by Montana Resources. This is their concentrator.
These trucks bring the ore to the concentrator. The tires are 14 feet tall and cost $30,000 a piece. The mine still employs 300 people on around the clock shifts.
We also toured the city the Red Light district, China Town, and of course where the rich lived. This is the mine owners house called the Copper King Mansion
We drove around the city, which is quite small, and drove through the campus of Montana Tech near the Mining Museum. I was surprised how steep the streets are, I wonder if they close them when it snows. Seems also that Butte is quite proud of their beer. These large signs were on several buildings.
While there were many bars there are also many churches to go with the many ethnic groups in the city. Here is one we are familiar with.
The views from up on the hill were also very nice. Thats uptown Butte right in front of us.
This statue of Mary also overlooks the city. It is 90 feet tall and is called The Lady of the Rockies.
Thats about it for the short tour. As I said I was disappointed but I was surprised that Russ knew and told the tour group that J Edgar Hoover was not fond of Butte and used it as a “disciplinary office” transferring agents that got in trouble here. Some of them made the best of the hunting, fishing, and outdoors stuff to do here and retired here.
After the tour we headed to Walmart and picked up our RXs before heading home. Its Hot this afternoon so we are chilling in the AC until sundown.
No big plans for today so we got up when we were ready to. Not to early and not to late. Our one neighbor was already gone. Karen told me they were planning to leave today but they were having some roof problems. When I finally went outside the technician was still working on patching their rubber roof. He said the wind is what had damaged it. Well it was quite gusty today but todays wind is not what caused the damage.
I got out my Wash Wax kit and scrubbed the bugs off the windshield and the front of the coach.
After a bit of a rest to cool down and have snack I went back out and washed all the dirt off the bottom half of this side of the coach. It looks like new again. It finally was to hot for me and I headed inside and turned on the AC.
About mid afternoon the roof was fixed and the neighbors pulled out for their next destination. The campground was filling up for the weekend we have already got one new neighbor. I guess my outside work tired me because I ended up taking a nap for the first time in a long time. I woke up for the news and then Bonnie fixed chicken for supper. I did the dishes and now can relax the rest of the evening. Its cooling off nicely and we turned off the AC at 7pm. About an hour later a fifth wheel backed in on the other side of us. Thats about it for tonight.
Today was a beautiful day it stayed in the 70s all day. we decided to take a ride and check out the so called Anaconda Stack State Park. He is a view of it from the front entrance of our RV Park, it is over 7 miles away.
And with a 400mm zoom
I read that the park was a bit heard to find so we followed the GPS. Which of course took us to the wrong spot. But we were next to a huge pile of slag. More of a mountain.
This came out near the bottom, I am zoomed in again. Not sure what it is but it can not be good.
Here is what the web has to say about the stack and site.
Standing tall since 1919, the Big Stack is visible long before you arrive in Anaconda. At 585 feet high it was the country’s tallest smokestack; the Washington Monument could fit inside it. For decades it benevolently belched lead and arsenic over the town, but smelting operations ceased in 1980 and in 1983 the stack was condemned for demolition. Proud Anacondans banded together and saved the stack. It’s now a Montana State Park — but it’s a park you can’t visit, since the dirt surrounding the Big Stack is still so toxic that you’re kept over a mile away.
Next I tried Google maps and it led us to the park which is basically a parking lot with a few signs and displays.
One of the large smelting pots.
Ore cart and some of the workers
An other pot
This circle is the same diameter as the top of the stack. You can see the stack in the background over a mile away. The smelters were down at the base of the hill and giant flues led to the stack which carried the toxic gases high into the air.
Better view of the size of the top of the stack about 75 feet.
We then decided to drive up Montana 1 to the town of Philipsburg. It was another old mining town. This is a designated scenic drive and it was beautiful. We passed Silver lake and then Georgetown Lake at the summit of the drive around 6500ft. Then wound our way down in to the valley and the town of Philipsburg. Its pretty much a tourist town now, it has a few GEM and mineral shops that will sell you a heavy bag of rocks and dirt and help you sift it down to find the hidden GEMs. Bonnie bought her bag of dirt and went to work.
She did find some GEMs sapphires, agate pieces and some pretty stones. Her big find was the Idaho Opal all polished and set in a necklace. We headed back for home. It was getting late so we stopped at Peppermint Patties again for supper. Another great day. I have been downloading a Garmin map update all day and it is still not finished. I have 3 units that need to be updated. Not sure I will get them all done at this stop. They are big files so am trying to be patient and use the campgrounds slow WiFi.
Our time here near Butte is drawing to a close. Today is our last day and we move north in the morning. We slept to late and missed going to church all the way up in Anaconda. Thankfully we have a podcast or two to listen too.
We took it easy all day. I worked on updating the maps in our GPS units and having issues with the micro sd cards I have. I think they may be too big. But I think the older two units are going to work. Check out here is 11am so the RV Park has been pretty quiet most of the day. I spoke to soon we have a new neighbor, an older man with his cat.
Bonnie is making hamburgers for supper and I did see that Kyle Bush won the race at Indianapolis today. Well thats about it for this week, we have enjoyed our time here near Anaconda and Butte.
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