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WALKERVILLE


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Walkerville, a suburb of Butte, was named for the Walker Brothers of Salt Lake City, Utah, who owned and operated the Alice Mine at Walkerville. The town was settled mostly by miners from Cornwall, England. (from Cheney's Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company)

From 1864 to 1867 miners located dozens of lode claims, including the Rainbow lode in present day Walkerville. The Lexington mine was one of the silver mines which established Butte as a rich silver producer in the late 1870s through the 1880s. In 1881, the Lexington Mining Company erected a 50-stamp mill and roasting ovens adjacent to their Walkerville mine. By 1887 the Butte district boasted a combined 300 stamps milling silver ore. Silver mining remained a vital part of the Butte economy until 1893 with the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. While the repeal of the act completely devastated a number of Montana silver mining camps, Butte had its base metal production to fall back upon.

The Lexington and Alice mines, both located in Walkerville at the top of Butte hill, attracted some of the earliest outside investors to Butte and pioneered large-scale industrial mining in the district. Butte Hill and its huge copper deposits were known as "the richest hill on earth." In fact, at the turn of the century, Butte was one of the largest cities west of the Mississippi.

Although the area now is mostly abandoned there remains evidence of the mining community that once thrived here. The major features remaining at the Lexington include the steel headframe over the shaft, the hoist house, and a steel idler tower.




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  Southwest Montana

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