Filed Under boardinghouses

Helsinki Bar and Steam Bath

Butte National Historic Landmark District

Twelve saloons, six grocery stores, eighteen boarding houses, a community hall, and three saunas served “Finn Town,” a bustling ethnic enclave in the 1920s. Finns were relative latecomers to Butte, arriving in numbers around 1910. Miners of other nationalities lived here in the 1890s when this two-story brick-veneered boarding house was first constructed. However, by 1906, Hilda Nurmi managed the boarding house, the first of several Finnish proprietors. By 1911, the property boasted that treasured Finnish institution: the sauna. Here, for twenty-five cents, Finns bathed, socialized, and renewed their connection to their homeland. In 1915, the baths were open from three to midnight, with Fridays reserved for ladies. In 1937, John Neimi opened a beer parlor here; it later became the Corner Bar, then the Helsinki. In the 1950s, the Anaconda Company purchased much of the Eastside—including Finn Town—to feed the Berkeley Pit’s rapacious appetite and to create a buffer zone around its open-pit mining operation. Today, the Helsinki Bar and Steam Bath stands alone, a potent reminder of the once vibrant Finnish neighborhood.

Images

Helsinki Bar and Steam Bath
Helsinki Bar and Steam Bath Helsinki Bar and Stream Bath (PAc 91-51 B4 RollMaM04 F05). Front to side view of the building, facing south to southeast from the corner of East Broadway Street and Covert Street. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Mary Murphy Date: 1984

Location

402 East Broadway Street, Butte, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Helsinki Bar and Steam Bath,” Story of Butte, accessed July 14, 2024, https://storyofbutte.org/items/show/1865.