Library History

Mural by artist John Carle of the original library

Mural of the original library by John Carle

In November 1890, Mountain View Mine Owner Charles Larabie gave $10,000 towards the construction of a library building in Butte. By 1893, the Butte Public Library, trimmed with granite lintels, arches, sills, and stained glass windows, became a reality. The library officially opened in 1894 at 106 West Broadway. Just over a decade later on the morning of September 24, 1905, a fire spread from businesses on Park and Galena and damaged the building. The repaired building served Butte as a public library until March 27, 1960, when yet another fire on the upper floor of the library caused the collapse of the roof and the third floor. Architect Walt Hinick salvaged the main floor and basement, but the turret, upper floors, and much of the stained glass could not be saved. In October 1991, the original library building closed and the current library location at 226 West Broadway opened with the help of book brigade volunteers. In October 2008, Helen Elsmore donated the original stained glass window from the old Butte library tower. It is currently on display on the first floor of the library.