Filed Under Mining History

Steward Mine

1877-1973, 4400 Feet Deep

Site of underground banquet in 1909

The Steward mine, named for its discoverer, Missouri native John Marshall Steward, was a prolific producer of both silver and copper, as well as some zinc. At one time Steward also owned the Chief Joseph, Nipper, and Raven mines in Butte.

By the early 1880s the Steward mine was owned by William Clark. The brick hoist house is typical of a Clark mine, as Clark preferred brick instead of wood in order to protect his expensive machinery. The hoist house, auxiliary hoist house, and headframe are all that remain of the once extensive mine yard structures.

The headframe was erected in 1898 at a cost of less than $9,000. The cage of the Steward was raised and lowered by a steam-driven engine, which was later converted to compressed air. The engine is still in place in the hoist house.

The Steward was known as a hot, uncomfortable mine to work in. Its most torrid drift was disparagingly referred to as “the Chinese Laundry.”

According to a Montana Standard article, fine dining took place underground at the Steward in 1909. Visiting members of the Massachusetts Street Railway Association were treated to a banquet at the 2,100-foot level. The menu included dishes named after other Butte mines, such as Merry Widow drill sauce, sliced Minnie Healy apples, Parrot Lode chicken, Hidden Treasure salads, Never Sweat lobster and Olympia oyster cocktails.

The Steward was sold to the Anaconda Copper Mining Company in 1910, and was operated until the 1970s. Experimental mining occurred there until around 1981.

Images

Men Loaded in Cage at Steward Mine
Men Loaded in Cage at Steward Mine Men ready to be lowered in the cage at the Steward Mine. Note the wooden headframe, typical of the period. This is a vertical photo. Click the title to view the full image. Source: World Museum of Mining Date: June 20, 1902
Timber Dump at the Steward Mine
Timber Dump at the Steward Mine Men at the Steward Mine timber dump with BA&P rail cars above the dump. Source: Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives Creator: C. Owen Smithers
Operator's Booth at Steward Hoist House
Operator's Booth at Steward Hoist House View of the interior of the operator's booth at the Steward Mine hoist house. Note the statement written over the window: "Cages down mine for last time-4-17-78." Source: Historic American Engineering Record, Library of Congress Creator: Jet Lowe Date: 1979
Steam Engine for Hoist
Steam Engine for Hoist Steam engine that powered the hoist at the Steward Mine. Source: Historic American Engineering Record, Library of Congress Creator: Jet Lowe Date: 1979
Post Card of Steward Mine
Post Card of Steward Mine Colorized post card with view of the Steward headframe and mineyard.
Steward Mineyard
Steward Mineyard This is a vertical photo. Click the title to view the full image. Source: World Museum of Mining
Steward Mine
Steward Mine This is a vertical photo. Click the title to view the full image. Source: Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives Creator: C. Owen Smithers Date: 1930
View of Steward Mine
View of Steward Mine Source: World Museum of Mining

Location

600 Block of N Main Street | Private

Metadata

Story of Butte
Contributors: Butte Historical Society, Nancy Woodruff, “Steward Mine,” Story of Butte, accessed April 14, 2024, https://storyofbutte.org/items/show/3397.