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Butte Historical Tours – A Great Reason to Get Out of Missoula

Photo courtesy of mattdente/Flickr

In the minds of most Montanans, Butte is famous for two things: St. Patrick’s Day and the Berkeley Pit. The Mining City often is the butt of jokes made by those of us fortunate enough to live in, shall we say, more aesthetically pleasing areas of the state. But, there is more to Butte than green beer and toxic water.

There’s plenty of amazing history around the state of Montana — much of it right here in Missoula. If you ever get the itch to explore the historical significance of another major Montana town, however, Butte should be at the top of your list.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in one of Butte’s historical walking tours. The tours — which have become very popular among tourists and locals alike — take participants on a journey through history as they explore the architectural remnants of a mining boomtown.

On the surface, it might sound boring, but trust me, it’s anything but. From the dark, cold depths of the old city jail, to the impeccably preserved 1920s “speakeasy,” you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time to experience Butte’s heyday firsthand.

There are four different tours to choose from, and each one explores a different area of uptown Butte. It’s a good idea to wear comfortable shoes, as you will be on your feet for a little more than an hour, but no strenuous walking is involved — at least not on the tour I went on.

The drive to Butte takes less than two hours, and it’s all on interstate highway, which makes for an easy day trip. On the way out of town, stop by the Freeway Tavern and order a Wop Chop — the pork chop sandwich made famous by the Travel Channel show Man vs. Food.

And when you get home, be sure to tell your friends that it is possible to have a good time in Butte, even when it’s not March 17.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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