Stephen F. Austin State University

The Travel Blog of the history faculty and students of Stephen F. Austin State University.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Butte / Big Hole Battlefield

We stopped in Butte, Montana to talk about the idea of core / periphery in world resource extraction and global capitalism.  Butte used to be the largest city between Minneapolis and San Francisco, but is now a ravaged environmental disaster.  The wealth of the city was built on copper, lead, manganese, silver, gold, and lead mining, but with the minerals played out, so is the wealth of the city and all that is left is a beautiful old town and a few people that hang on in a place that presidents from Teddy Roosevelt to Richard Nixon considered a must-stop part of their campaign trails.  For images of the pit mine in Butte, see here.

After Butte we headed to the Big Hole National Battlefield where the Nez Perce were ambushed by US Troops as the Native Americans camped along the banks of the Big Hole river.  This was just one in a series of battles between US forces and the Nez Perce as they attempted to flee the United States for Canada in the longest fighting retreat in US Military history.  The Nez Perce were able to put US troops under seige at Big Hole, buying time for their families to escape the rifles and howitzer of the US 7th Infantry.

Our walking guide for our tour of the "red light district" of Butte.  Here he discusses the corruption of the Butte police and arsons in the city.

Student David surveys the inside of one of Butte's many former brothels.

The Blue Range Brothel.  The windows and doors were for miners to select from the menu of prostitutes.

Butte had a thriving Chinese population.  This parade dragon is part of the museum of the Chinese community.

Cases with some of the thousands of artifacts found in digs in the Chinese district of Butte.

Providing food for miners was a key role for Chinese businesses.  Mining camps gave birth to the dish "chop suey" - essentially scraps thrown together for miners that was cheap and filling - as well as tasty.

While at the big hole, our Texans struggled with their being "too many bugs" in Montana.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - talk about history coming alive! What an amazing trip - love the architecture pics by the way.