The stories of Butte in its heyday during the early years of the 20th Century are wild. Dozens of languages mingled, conspiracy and intrigue flourished, world-controlling tycoons rubbed shoulders with dirt-poor miners. The architecture of Uptown Butte is a testament to this variety. In a city of extremes, it’s hard to think of a building that would look out of place. Take the Clark Chateau, whose prominent fairytale-esque tower oozes all the sophistication of the Gilded Age, but sits only a few blocks away from both the city’s old Red Light district and the Berkley Pit.
Inspired by the manors of the French countryside, the Chateau was built in 1898 for Charles Clark. Charles was the oldest son and business partner of William A. Clark, one of Butte’s notorious Copper Kings. Charles and his wife only lived in Butte until 1902 when they decamped to California in the wake of a bribery scandal (like father, like son, the U.S. Senate refused to seat William A. Clark in 1899, because his election had been so obviously rigged). The Chateau passed through the hands of various magnates and tycoons, including, most famously, Creighton Largey, who owned the house in 1910, when the Montana state song was penned in the Chateau’s music room.
Today the Chateau is a hub for Butte’s vibrant arts and culture scene. It is owned by the Butte-Silver Bow Archives and is home to the non-profit The Root & The Bloom Collective. The non-profit is ‘dedicated to transforming the building into a haven for the Humanities’ and hosts amazing cultural and creative events including a creative arts summer internship for local teens, a writer-in-residence program, live music, and festive celebrations. The Chateau is open to visit, or to rent, throughout the year.
While you’re in the area, why not check out William A. Clark’s own opulent Butte mansion and read about the Clark Mansions. We also have a wealth of info about exploring Butte throughout our blog and website.
If you chose to travel through Southwest Montana, make sure you are up-to-date on the latest travel information for the State!