A Rich Find Of Copper On Hirbour Building Site
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 46° 00.834 W 112° 32.140
12T E 381120 N 5096738
Quick Description: Montana's first skyscraper, the Hirbour Block was only the second skyscraper to be built west of Minneapolis and St. Louis.
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 2/9/2018 1:12:29 AM
Waymark Code: WMXPK1
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member DnRseekers
Views: 0

Long Description:
While mighty small by today's standards, the Hirbour Block was mighty tall when completed in 1901. Built by S. Emanuel Hirbour as an investment, it otherwise followed the standard scheme of the day, with commercial space on the ground floor, and in this unusual case, also the basement, with office space above.

The first steel beam framed building to be built in Butte, or anywhere in Montana, for that matter, this construction method allowed it to tower over its neighbours. It would appear that, prior to the construction of the Hirbour Block, the property was occupied by a single storey wood framed saloon. In 1886 Hirbour was manager of a saloon which was an outlet for the Silver Bow Brewery which may be the selfsame saloon. Hirbour was also mentioned as being the bookkeeper for the brewery.

Butte's exploding population demanded more and more retail spaces, and the below-the-sidewalk storefront in the Hirbour's basement is the best preserved example. The basement was initially home to the Salvation Army. A courier company occupied the space until about 1928 when the Hirbour Barber Shop began a 35-year tenancy, probably ending about 1962 after the devastating six-month strike in all the mines in 1959 — another blow in Butte's economic decline.

Today, access to this historic underground space is preserved thanks to a Butte-Silver Bow decision in 2003 to repair the vaulted sidewalk while maintaining the stairway.
From the Montana Standard

It's not every day that, when excavating for a new building one strikes a rich vein of copper ore, but that is exactly what happened with the Hirbour Block. Read on.

A RICH FIND OF COPPER ON HIRBOUR BUILDING SITE
The Butte Inter Mountain May 29, 1901 Page 10
A rich lead of copper ore was uncovered this morning on the site of the projected Hirbour building, on the corner of Main street and Broadway, the busiest thoroughfares of the city.

The find was made by the workmen who are engaged in the work of excavating for the foundation for the big structure that is to be built on that corner. The lead was uncovered in the southwest corner of the excavation, and within 10 feet of the surface.

The discovery created intense excitement among the workmen, and work was practically suspended for an hour after the find was made. The lead is three feet in width, and experts who examined it say that it is very rich in copper values.

The find, of course, is of no consequence to the heirs of the Hirbour estate, as their title is confined to the surface rights. It is of immense importance, however, to the owners of the Smokehouse property, who are sinking for the same lead a block away to the westward.

The same lead was encountered in the same manner in the excavation for the Thornton hotel more than a year ago. The Thornton discovery was the cause of the organization of the Smokehouse company. The lead was also uncovered in the excavation for the Reed stables, two blocks west from the Hirbour site.
From the Butte Inter Mountain

HIRBOUR BLOCK

Less than a decade after the skyscraper made its debut in Chicago, the new technology of steel frame and curtain wall construction was employed in Butte. This engineering principle, coupled with use of the elevator, allowed the Hirbour Block to tower over other masonry structures in the district. Owner S. Emanuel Hirbour constructed Butte's first skyscraper in 1901, housing a first-floor grocery with rooms to let above."H" medal-lions at the corners, egg-and-dart moldings with dentilation and display windows in fancy metal frames enhance the facade of this eight-story showcase.
From the NRHP plaque at the building


Photo goes Here

Type of publication: Newspaper

When was the article reported?: 5/29/1901

Publication: Butte Inter Mountain

Article Url: [Web Link]

Is Registration Required?: no

How widespread was the article reported?: regional

News Category: Business/Finance

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