Filed Under Mining History

Travona Mine

1875-1957, 1500 Feet Deep

The discovery of silver at this mine triggered the major mining boom of Butte.

The oldest mine on the hill, the Travona began in 1864 as a gold mine named the Asteroid. But the Butte area never produced much gold, and mining at the Asteroid, as well as the rest of Butte, had pretty much played out by the time William Farlin came to own the mine.

Farlin took advantage of a new mining law that required owners to make yearly economic improvements for each claim or forfeit ownership. In 1875 after the owner failed to meet these requirements, Farlin staked his claim to the Asteroid, which he later renamed the Travona. Just as the small settlement of Butte appeared to be headed toward becoming a ghost town, Farlin discovered silver at the Travona, kicking off a new period of mining in Butte.

Farlin invested heavily in the Travona and added a mill, the Dexter Mill, to reduce the silver ores. Farlin invested too heavily, it appears, as he defaulted on a loan from William A. Clark, the first of Butteā€™s three Copper Kings, and the mine and mill were foreclosed on in 1877. In 1880 Clark patented the Travona Mine, and he worked it for another 25 years. Eventually owned by the Anaconda Company, it became a highly producing manganese mine from 1942 until closing.

The steel headframe at the Travona was originally located at the Pennsylvania Mine, located in what is now the Berkeley Pit. The headframe was moved to the Travona in 1940.

The name of this mine is often mispronounced as "Travonia," as seen in the name of the adjacent street.

Images

Miners Emerging from the Travona Mine, 1946 Men carrying lunch buckets getting out of the cage at the shaft of the Travona Mine. Source: Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives Creator: C. Owen Smithers Date: August, 1946
Travona Mine, Around 1950 Source: World Museum of Mining Date: Circa 1950

Location

Off Travonia Street | No public access

Metadata

Story of Butte
Contributors: Nancy Woodruff, Paddy Dennehy, “Travona Mine,” Story of Butte, accessed June 5, 2023, https://storyofbutte.org/items/show/3389.