Mining

  • A Brief and Tasty History of the Beef Pasty

    By Joseph Shelton
    But those first Cornish miners brought with them a delicacy that many Montanans still treasure, a simple hand-pie that continues to nourish and fuel hard-working folks today. 
  • Do Tommyknockers Lurk In the Darkness?

    By Joseph Shelton
    Across nearly every culture, they’re described as diminutive, bearded creatures similar to men, but with longer arms, bigger heads, and some degree of supernatural powers.
  • Life During Wartime at the Charter Oak Mine

    By Carl Davis
    The crucial role of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and other big mining enterprises in World War II materials production is widely appreciated. Less so is the contribution of Montana’s many small-scale mine operations.
  • East to Gold Mountain: Chinese Miners in Montana

    By Sherman Cahill
    And when Montana experienced its own gold rush, many Chinese came to Bannack and Virginia City to seek their fortunes; the first mention of Chinese arriving in the area was in an 1865 issue of the Virginia City newspaper The Montana Post, which groused at the arrival of a small group of gold-seeking Chinese workers. 
  • Superfund Sites and the Complicated Legacy of Mining

    By Zuzu Feder
    Montana is home to a whopping 17 federal Superfund Sites. Superfund, or Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), was established in 1980 to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up contaminated, toxic sites around the United States.
  • Modern Mining in Montana

    By Bryan Spellman
    Montana history is mining. All three of Montana Territory’s capitals got their start as gold rush towns.
  • Granite, Silver, and the Dollar: The Making of a Ghost Town

    By Joseph Shelton
    Granite was founded in the 1870s, situated over a few particularly rich veins of silver ore. It was a big enough town to have neighborhoods roughly divided by country of origin, with a Finnish street, a Cornish street and, of course, an Irish street.
  • “Give me a high drop, boys” - Frontier Justice and The Ghost of Henry Plummer

    By Doug Stevens
    Lynching at the hands of a group of self-appointed vigilantes was employed in many mining towns across the Western U.S. in the mid-nineteenth century, including Montana. With the legal structure of courts, lawyers and judges lagging well behind the growth and the ensuing lawlessness of each gold strike, expedience was sometimes the preferred instrument to establish “law and order.”
  • Digging Montana's Yogo Sapphires

    By Hallie Zolynski
    Jewish traditions hold that the Ten Commandments were engraved on sapphire tablets. Some may be legend or myth, but there’s no denying that sapphires have an air of mystery and magic, not unlike Montana. 
  • "We Died an Easy Death:" Three of Montana's Worst Mining Disasters

    By Sherman Cahill
    In hard rock mining, the "nipper" is an entry-level position for someone, usually young and potentially a child, who assists the miners in getting them fresh equipment, exchanging out old bits, and fetching whatever the miners need. In the Butte of 1911, child labor laws were still far down the road, the job was often occupied by twelve to nineteen-year-old boys
  • The Auditor: Spirit of Butte

    By Rob Rath
    How I got into the pit isn't worth mentioning, and I don't remember much about it, anyway. The important thing is that I came here in 1986, to protect Butte, the Pit, and everything around it...
  • Butte Will Rise Again!

    By Sherman Cahill
    You already know the story: thousands of immigrants, arriving at Ellis Island, carrying signs bearing the name of their intended destination. They read, not "Butte, Montana," but "Butte, America." Because Montana, one of the biggest states in the Union, was too small to contain the legend of the Mining City.