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Butte CPR Dust to Dazzle - Home tour returns June 26, 2021

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June 8, 2021

Butte - Butte Citizens for Preservation and Revitalization’s annual tour of historic Butte homes and buildings returns Saturday, June 26, from noon to 5 p.m.

The Dust to Dazzle event features completed and on-going renovation projects in Butte’s historic district.

 

The annual tour is Butte CPR’s primary fundraiser, but the event’s main purpose is to inspire people to purchase and restore historic buildings in Uptown Butte by showing what great results can be achieved while bringing historic buildings back from the brink.

 

Proceeds benefit Butte CPR’s many projects, most notably its Historic Improvement Program grant fund. For more details visit www.buttecpr.org.

 

Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased at all locations on tour day. Advance tickets may be purchased at Books & Books, 206 W. Park St., and The Corner Bookstore, 1877 Harrison Ave.

Masks will be required along with social distancing, and there will not be a tea this year due to the pandemic.

 

This year’s “dazzle” properties are homes at 319 N. Montana St. and 1135 W. Mercury St. plus a completed condo unit in the O’Rourke Building, 101 W. Quartz.

 

The “dust” properties are the upper floors of the Elks Lodge, 206 W. Galena; a former boarding house at 444 W. Broadway being renovated into apartments, and a Craftsman-style home at 1308 W. Broadway in the heart of the Montana Tech campus.

 

Here’s a little backstory on each property:

 

319 N. Montana

Tall and ample windows provide this Italianate home commanding views of Uptown Butte. Jesse Wharton and his bride Elizabeth Noyes were early residents, purchasing the house in 1886. Wharton worked as a clerk at William Clark’s bank at the time but quickly became one of the Copper King’s most trusted associates. Clark placed Wharton in charge of constructing his city streetcar system and fantastical amusement park, Columbia Gardens. After the Whartons moved to the Gardens in 1912, the house remained a single-family home until the 1930s when it was subdivided into apartments. Recently, Dana and Bart Wackerbarth lovingly restored the house to its former grandeur.

 

1135 W. Mercury

This home is a classic example of the Craftsman style architecture popular in the U.S. from the 1890s to the 1930s. Craftsman homes are known for their use of natural materials and exposed structural elements as part of the style. This home and the two on either side were built by the same builder in 1914 during a building boom in Butte. The current owners, the Roses, have enjoyed the house the longest of any previous residents.

 

Unit 1D of O’Rourke Building, 101 W. Quartz

The O’Rourke Building was featured in the 2019 Dust to Dazzle Tour in the early stages of its transformation from a long-abandoned building to a brand new condominium complex. This year’s tour features one of the 11 units completed by FÔRT + HŌM, LLC, a real estate investing and development firm.

Entrepreneur John O’Rourke, who once also owned the M&M Saloon, financed construction of the Alaska Street Annex in 1892 just north of the family home on Quartz. Shortly after his death in 1907, his widow Mary had the O’Rourke Apartments built on the Quartz Street lot, presumably to honor his memory.

Noted architect William O’Brien’s design features two-story projecting bay windows with molded stone brackets, the wrought-iron canopy above the doorway suspended by chains from a lion medallion, the “O’Rourke” name emblazoned in stone on the cornice, and the parapet design which gives a Gothic flavor to the building’s roofline.  

 

Butte Elks Lodge, 206 W. Galena

The historic upper floors of the Butte Elks’ building are featured on this year’s tour.  The three-story building was constructed in 1924-25 at a cost of $175,000. The lodge meeting hall occupied the second floor of the structure, featuring oak woodwork, maple floors, and walls “decorated with tiffany design,” according to a descriptive newspaper article of the time. Also on the second floor were a lounge/ reception room, cloak room, card and billiards room, ladies’ rest room, and a motion picture booth.

The third floor was designed to provide accommodations for visiting members. It was divided into twelve rooms, some of which had private bathrooms and others connecting bathrooms. This floor was finished with mahogany woodwork.

The ground floor of the Elks’ building has been significantly altered from its historic look.  It was originally designed as a retail space with large showroom windows, and was leased to an automobile dealership until 1956.

 

444 W. Broadway

This residence was built in 1898 by a prosperous Butte businessman. But in 1911-12, the home was no longer a single-family dwelling, but the Neal Institute for the “guaranteed cure of the liquor habit.” Following that, it served as a successful boarding house for the next 35 years.

From 1947 into the 1960s, it was operated as a nursing home known as the Mountain View Rest Home. Although the home was occupied following the closure of the nursing home, its deterioration is documented in tax appraisal records, which note by the early 1980s that the upper floors are uninhabitable due to water damage.

After decades of neglect, new owners are bringing the structure back to life as apartments. Although many original historical elements have been lost, the new siding and replacement windows replicate the original appearance of the home.

 

1308 W. Broadway (accessed by Prospector Street, off Park Street on the campus of Montana Tech)

This beautiful Craftsman-style home, featuring two types of dormers on the front, was built in approximately 1915 by Alexander and Agnes (Leys) Christie, both immigrants from Scotland. Alexander and his brother-in-law James Leys ran a successful jewelry store in Uptown Butte for decades. Family members occupied the home until 2005, and then Montana Tech was able to purchase it, as it sits near the heart of campus.

The home features original woodwork and beautiful built-ins as well as some old Craftsman-style light fixtures. The home had been ignored for many years until recently when upgrades were made to the exterior.  Not many people have seen the inside of this home, so it’s a treat to feature this work in progress as a “dust” property this year.



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