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.