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Demolition of historic Blue Range building has begun

Blue Range
Posted at 5:18 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 19:18:37-04

Another historic structure in Uptown Butte is coming down.

The Blue Range building is being demolished to make way for more space for Staack's Motorsports.

And some community members are not happy with it.

Brian McGregor, owner of the Silver Dollar Saloon, says that it’s a travesty for Butte’s historic district.

"Those buildings represent millions of dollars in future tourism revenue and we feel that the local government is working against our best interests in facilitating the destruction of these buildings rather than working to preserve them," said McGregor.

Chris Fisk, a Butte history teacher and trolley tour guide, says the loss is going to be felt but it’s for the best.

"It was such a visual part of our red-light district. I understand it. The building itself is not in good condition and you know you have two choices: leave it in the air and hope it doesn’t fall and somebody getting hurt or you let the process take place and that’s one of the risks you have when you have the aged buildings that we do," said Fisk.

The Blue Range cribs were once part of the flourishing red light district in Butte where women of the night roamed and human trafficking was abundant.

Known for the street-facing cribs, the Blue Range was one of the staples in the red light district. Built by Anton Holter in 1897, the cribs catered to miners looking to sin with the women of the night.

The building was purchased by Lee Mantle and continued to operate as a brothel. The building was also at the center of prohibition raids by federal officers.

Fisk says the process of how historic buildings are preserved and sold should be given a look for the future of the historic landmark district.

"We certainly have a treasure and that’s one we don’t want to lose." said Fisk.

The future of many of the historic buildings is uncertain, but the demolition of the Blue Range cribs is a loss for Uptown Butte and its historic red light district.