1864-1940, 3900 Feet Deep
The Original Mine was the site of some of the earliest mining in Butte.
The Original Mine, a good producer of copper and silver, was the site of some of the earliest mining in Butte. Early pioneers found small pits dug by early prospectors, possibly native Americans, with elk horn near the site of the Original Mine. William Clark patented Lot #39 in 1878, launching the Original Mine, and two years later, Granville Stuart patented claims for two more lots. The shaft was driven to the 1,000-foot level by 1897 with 20 men working underground, six top men, and three hoist engineers. By 1902, the mine employed 300 men working underground, twenty top men, and three engineers. Clark sold the mine to the Anaconda Company in 1910, and it operated until 1940. The Original was re-opened in the 1950s, when it was mined for zinc and copper.
The existing structures were built in 1898. They include a brick hoist house, a compressor house, and the headframe. Today the Original headframe serves as the mainstage for the Montana Folk Festival, as well as a venue for weddings and other events.