8/11/2019 and 8/12/2019
Back to Butte for a couple of days and Visiting The World Museum of Mining
Sunday 8/11/2019 We left Glacier this morning and drove back to Butte, Montana for two nights. We’re doing this because we are now beginning our drive back to Ohio. I need to start heading east and Interstate 90 runs through Butte. Last night we had a storm in Glacier and today’s weather for the trip was very cloudy, with periods of rain and was also much cooler. We didn’t do anything when we arrived at the Butte KOA except set up, get diesel fuel for the truck and eat dinner.
Monday 8/12/2019 When we were in Butte a week ago we took the trolley ride and they drove by The World Museum of Mining. The trolley didn’t stop there and ever since I’ve been waiting to return and go on a tour of the mine. I made reservations online yesterday for an 11:00 am tour. We left about 10:30 and drove about ten minutes to the museum. While we were waiting we walked around the gift shop where they had a few historical items to look at and read about. They also had a large room full of every action, movie and just novelty figurines I’ve ever seen. The first display was full of very sinister-looking dolls. (at least that’s what Rose calls them) I have no idea what these had to do with mining. We also visited the Miners Memorial Wall & Remembering Garden. It had the names of over 2,500 men that lost their lives in the underground mines of Butte. At 11 am we met outside to begin our tour. First, you walk through a building with old mining equipment and machinery. Then you go to a trailer where you put on a hardhat and miner’s headlamp. A short distance away is the opening to the mine. It looks like they added this large corrugated metal tunnel with a metal door so visitors could enter the mine easily. The actual miners had to be lowered down through a cage in the shaft. As we descended to 100 feet below the surface, we were able to see how they braced the walls and ceilings of the mine, and also saw many of their tools and equipment they used. Our tour guide, who was a professor at the nearby Montana Tech School of Engineering and Mining, explained a lot of the history of the mine and how the workers lived and survived workdays of ten hours, six days a week. We left the mine, returned our hardhats and then were on our own to roam around outside.
The outside area is an entire re-creation of a western mining town in the1890s. They put together every building an old town would have using old materials for some of them but the other 15 buildings are authentic and moved to this location. There’s a general store, bank, dentist office, undertaker, blacksmith, schoolhouse, two Catholic churches (since a good percentage of the workers were Irish Catholics) and more. Of course, there was a saloon in this western town since the town of Butte actually had over 350 bars in their mining heyday. We strolled around the town for at least an hour and then went out for lunch and picked up some groceries on our way back to the RV park for the evening.
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