A Well Preserved (and Haunted) Shanty Town - Butte, Montana


This will be a series of different blogs concerning our trip to Montana. Since we had a pretty large group, and to maintain social distancing, we arranged to investigate 3 different places in Butte, Montana. The Old Dumas Brothel, The Mira Brothel, and the Old Cabbage Patch original shanty town. We split everyone into 3 different groups, face masks and distanced ourselves from one another, then every hour we switched until about 2:00 in the morning.


Honestly, while trying to investigate, there were towns people very close and they were talking a LOT. Several times we had to ask if they wouldn't mind keeping it down, but sadly they would start up again. Since it was a mostly outdoor location it was very hard NOT to have noise contamination. But there were a few things that happened that were interesting. At one time Melissa B. felt like a spider web was going over her hand and arm, there was nothing there. There were some interesting knocks, also direct responses with K2 meters together, someone thought they heard a little girls voice. The temperature began to drop to around 50 degrees F, so it got slightly chilly, of course that is when you heard a lot of pops and bangs, so we had to ignore those sounds.


Just the historic significance of this place was incredible. The man who owned the site said his grandmother had to live there. She did not want him to sell it or destroy it because she said this is where she came from and survived. Others should also be able to see how history really was and since she came from there, the rest of her family also came from that place...





Here is an article By Richard I. Gibson that explains a bit more about it.


108½ South Arizona

Built: pre-1891

Map


These shacks and outbuildings were at the extreme north end of the shanty town that grew up in the 1880s on the near southeast side of Butte’s main business district. The “Patch” was home to bootleggers, drunks, prostitutes, poor families, newly arrived immigrants, widows with children, criminals, and other down-on-their luck residents.



Construction is truly vernacular, using available materials, scavenged or stolen from waste piles, mine yards, and elsewhere. In 1916, the Cabbage Patch extended approximately from Arizona Street on the west to Oklahoma St. on the east, and from Galena (and its extension) on the north to Platinum or Porphyry on the south. Most of the buildings – more than 200 – were razed in 1940-41 to make way for Silver Bow Homes, the ranks of low-income apartments that still stand south of Mercury Street. At about the same time, the buildings here were converted to garages, with addition of flooring and large garage doors.



When used as residences, these places had dirt floors, and no electricity, running water, or sewer systems. Important original elements include scraps of linoleum and loose fabric used as wallpaper and insulation, and pressed tin and wood timber walls. The name reflects the frequent use of cabbage in meals—that smell, combined with that of the open sewer that wound its way through the district, contributed to the seedy feel of the neighborhood.


The surviving buildings of the Cabbage Patch are part of a tour with Old Butte Historical Adventures.

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