Len Waters Music
Butte National Historic Landmark District
The distinctive façade of this longtime Butte business conceals a building whose varied history extends back to the early 1880s. Originally a grocery warehouse and stationery/variety store, other businesses that operated here include the Montana Music Company 1898 and the Anaconda Standard 1917-1918. It is, however, Len Waters Music that has made this vintage relic a Butte landmark. In 1913, young Len Waters went to work for Orton Brothers Music. He also organized “Len’s Plectrum Five,” a popular musical group that played at events throughout southwestern Montana and at theaters between silent movies. Thirty years later in 1943, Waters scraped together a $500 down payment and purchased Orton’s small instruments department. He soon moved the business here. For decades Waters practiced his own special business philosophy based on the idea that service should be given and not sold. In 1977, he said of the music business, “I’ve loved it, lived it, dreamed it.” Waters died in 1991 at the age of 98, and new owners continue his business under the same unique “piano” canopy.