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Three historical buildings in Butte-Silver Bow receive Preservation grant

Posted at 10:57 AM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 12:57:12-04

BUTTE — Uptown Butte is known for its historic buildings. Three of them were awarded money from the Montana historic preservation grant.

The Mother Lode Theatre, Hotel Finlen, and Carpenters Union Hall will be moving forward with some renovation projects thanks to the Montana historic preservation grant.

Renovations are almost complete at Carpenters Union Hall. Clark Grant says that the grant money will be used toward a significant upgrade to the exterior of the building.

"And that is a portion of funding for a project that will put an exterior elevator on this building making it accessible all the way to the top floor and it will also put in place some buttresses that will provide protection in the event of an earthquake," said Grant.

Carpenters Union Hall completed construction in 1906 and is the oldest operating labor temple in the state. The hall housed most of Butte’s unions including the Women’s Protective Union, the Teachers’ Union, and the Laborers’ Union.

At the Mother Lode Theatre, grant funding will be used to install a fire suppression system.

"Back in the day fire suppression was not part of the design of most buildings as you can tell from the recent fire with the M&M so really the timing on this is very good," said Dodge.

The Mother Lode Theatre is nearly 100 years old. Constructed in the 1920s, the theatre was built as a new Masonic temple. The great depression and plummeting copper prices stopped the temple from opening and was leased as one of Butte’s five grand theaters.

Over at Hotel Finlen, renovation and expansion are in store. J.J. Adams is planning to get two floors of a vacant annex up to building and ADA codes in order to add more rooms to the historical hotel.

"It's kind of an expansion but within built walls," said Adams. "In order to add these 30 rooms that have already been built that are within our walls, they just aren’t up to modern expectations . . . in order to renovate those, we must first bring a bunch of coded issues into compliance throughout the building."

It will cost a couple of million dollars to get the floors up to code before Adams can begin decorating the rooms.

Hotel Finlen was originally known as the McDermott Hotel. When Robert E. Taylor gained ownership of the building, he planned on installing an $18,000 Turkish bath in the vacant annex of the building.

"And all of this has kind of been in the spirit of you know preserving the building, putting it back into use, but also making something worth taking an elevator to one day," said Grant.