I get to be a tourist again and yes it does feel good. I know a lot of folks who don’t do the tourist thing but I’m rather addicted to it. Which means, of course, that Jim gets to go along to do the driving. I enjoy the beauty of our land but I also like to learn about the history of places we visit and all the quirky things that people have done.
So here we go to explore Butte, MT. Don’t have time for everything but some of the highlights.
The Berkeley Pit is a former open pit copper mine. It is one mile long by half a mile wide with an approximate depth of 1,780 feet. It is filled to a depth of about 900 feet with water that is heavily acidic (about the acidity of cola or lemon juice). As a result, the pit is laden with heavy metals and dangerous chemicals that leach from the rock, including arsenic, cadmium, zinc, and sulfuric acid.
The mine was opened in 1955 and operated until its closure in 1982. The pit and its water present a serious environmental problem. The Berkeley Pit has since become one of the largest Superfund sites.
The fire was the deadliest disaster in metal mining history and shocked the world. In 1917 Butte was an industrial complex that rivaled the steel mills of Pittsburg. Additional people had to be hired to handle all the telegrams that came in from around the world wanting more information about the disaster.
John’s Original Pork Chop Sandwich was founded in Butte, Montana in 1924. The original Pork Chop John, John Burklund, sold his pork chop sandwiches from the back of a wagon located on the corner of Mercury and Main Streets.
As demand for the sandwich increased, John opened a restaurant on Mercury Street in 1932. Consisting of a counter, 10 stools and a walk-up window, that same store remains and that is where we had our sandwiches.
Most people like them with mustard and onion. I like them with just onion and they know to pile the onions on. Jim tried the deluxe with mayo (really miracle whip), lettuce and tomato. He wishes he had stuck with the mustard and onions. But they were so good. Not healthy but as a treat = wow.