Butte Northern Pacific Station
Butte's First Grand Depot
Sixteen passenger trains a day once stopped here.
The first railroad to reach Montana was the Union Pacific (UP), which in 1881 established a terminal one mile south of Uptown. After the Northern Pacific (NP) reached Butte in 1890, it shared the UP’s wooden passenger depot. As Butte grew from town to metropolis, its businessmen lobbied for construction of a grand, union station. The Great Northern (which arrived in Butte in the late 1880s) refused, so in 1906, the NP replaced the 1881 depot with these three hipped-roof buildings. The center structure originally boasted a covered overhang shading the platform. It housed a three-hundred-person general waiting room; men’s smoking and ladies’ private rooms; and ticket and telegraph offices. A stairway led upstairs to a gallery, designed as a public “promenade and lounging place,” as well as to the railroad’s administrative offices. The western building housed the baggage and freight offices; the eastern building housed the express offices and a restaurant. By 1916, twelve NP and four UP passenger trains stopped daily, in addition to “specials,” like the UP’s summer Sunday fishing train. The last passenger train left the station in 1979.