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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Thursday, August 22
8:45 p.m. Homestake picnic area, E. of Butte - I got another look at Butte today, and the Forest Service personnel also presented a program after supper about the city and surrounding area. The brief trip into the city was a leisurely one: Steven, Michelle, and I delivered the Dodge pickup to a garage for routine maintenance then had showers at the YMCA. As we were not in a hurry, I suggested we drive through the city for a better look and to get a “feel” for the place. We made the obligatory stop at the Berkeley Pit, at one time one of the richest copper mines in the world. It and the smaller high-grade vein mines, the earliest ventures, were the primary reasons for Butte’s existence. Now the pit is flooded. A 50-yard tunnel leads from a small visitor information building to an observation platform high above the acidic pool of reddish-brown water. “The Pit” is a mile across, three miles around, and 1700 feet deep. I was told that several million dollars worth of mining equipment and pumps were left there when the mine closed in the 1980s. Now the pool is so rich with copper, molybdenum, and possibly other metals that the water itself is undergoing experimental mining!
Gold was the attraction which drew many miners and other settlers in the 1860s, and the city counted over 100,000 residents about the turn of the century. Queen Elizabeth visited here, as did Teddy Roosevelt. At one time, a pair of Butte mine owners, the “Copper Kings,” controlled the world’s prices for copper. But the copper boom days are in the past for Butte, which appears to be primarily a service center for the 33,000 city residents and the surrounding area. The city has good medical facilities, I’m told, and Montana Tech, formerly the Montana School of Mining. But the “Copper King Mansion” is now a bed and breakfast, “Metals Bank” has been converted to a restaurant, and several museums capitalize on the city’s storied past. Today the downtown supports a number of antique, craft and novelty stores. Uptown Butte, an advertising newspaper supported by the various shops, carries articles which describes how residents saved St. Lawrence O’Toole Church from the wrecking ball and another about Butte’s “…most famous (or infamous) native son,” Evel Knievel. This city is one which exudes a curious attraction, and I’m sorry I haven’t more time to browse and get to know the people who live here.
Many of the place names appear to be Irish, and I also see a Serbian Orthodox Church. Welsh and Cornish immigrants also add to the ethnic makeup. It is an interesting mix. The city is also interesting because of the large number of old buildings which still stand-lots of character. It is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the nation, I’m told.
The Butte Weekly echoes the political philosophy of Butte’s majority by commenting negatively on “Dubya’s” policies. Of course, Montana is traditionally a Republican state, and the governor is Republican-but she is from Butte, a Democratic stronghold.
for Thursday, August 22
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Bob Ashley poses with school children at the Wyoming Hunting and Fishing Heritage Exposition 2002
. Robert Ashley is a teacher from Illinois.
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List of All Journal Entries
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Thursday, September 26
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 24
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 21
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 20
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, September 19
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 18
Robert Ashley
Kemmerer
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Tuesday, September 17
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 16
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 15
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 14
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 13
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 11
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 9
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 4
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 3
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 1
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 30
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 29
Robert Ashley
Stoddard Creek (F.S.) campground
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Wednesday, August 28
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 25
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 23
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 22
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 21
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 20
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 17
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 16
Robert Ashley
Meyer Hill
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Thursday, August 15
Robert Ashley
Aspen Grove
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Wednesday, August 14
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 13
Robert Ashley
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Monday, August 12
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 11
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 4
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 3
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 1
Robert Ashley
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