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Preserving Uptown Butte's historic buildings a priority in the wake of M&M fire

Posted at 4:55 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 19:58:07-04

Losing Butte’s iconic M&M in a devastating fire is a reminder of how quickly Butte’s history can be erased.

“With the traffic loss of the M&M building we realize the tragic nature of our historic buildings in Uptown, Butte, so I think we need to assess and see where we’re at with our buildings and try to prevent any future tragedies from happening,” said Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher.

While the M&M was well maintained, the city is concerned about other historic buildings that could be lost through neglect.

Preserving Uptown Butte's historic buildings a priority in the wake of M&M fire

Butte will be stepping up inspections on its older buildings, especially those that are vacant, so they don’t fall into further disrepair. As interest grows in people buying these older buildings, the city is considering requiring added safety features such as fire suppression systems.

“It’s a tragedy whenever we lose any of our older buildings, but we’re going to make sure we follow the processes to save as many buildings as we possibly can,” said Gallagher.

The historic Mother Lode Theater has been going through renovations, which will include a fire suppression system, to help preserve it.

“Because is it is the last live theater that we have here in Butte and none of us want to see what happened to the M&M,” said President of the Butte Center for Performing Arts Jocelyn Dodge.

And the Mother Lode Theater recently received a historic preservation grant from the state to put a half-million-dollar fire suppression system in this building. Worth the money for those who want to preserve Butte’s historic buildings.

“Butte’s very unique and very fortunate historic buildings, whether they’re owned by the county or by individuals, so we’re really happy to see people investing in the private buildings, in particular with the M&M, and wanting to rebuild that,” said Dodge.

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