Theses Master's

Rethinking Industrial Heritage: A Discussion of the Preservation of Compromised and Contested Cultural Landscapes in Butte, Montana

LaFever, Alison M.

Nicknamed the "Richest Hill on Earth," the city of Butte, Montana, is one of the most significant industrial heritage sites in the world. It is touted as being the largest and longest running single copper mining site in the history of the United States, and between 1887 and 1920, the copper mines of Butte, along with the smelting facilities in the neighboring community of Anaconda, were the largest producer of copper in the world. In many ways, the mining industry has both created and physically destroyed the cultural landscape of Butte, contributing to a complex identity that continues to define the place today. This dichotomy creates specific challenges with regard to the preservation of cultural resources related to industrial heritage in Butte. This thesis evaluates the specific challenges associated with industrial heritage preservation in Butte by applying a few conceptual theories that are at the foundation of scholarship in the field. It attempts to expand the current definition of industrial heritage that is applied in Butte in order to explore the ways in which the city's industrial heritage can be fully understood and incorporated into the big picture of Butte's ongoing preservation efforts through a variety of tools and strategies. The discussion advocates for why the preservation of Butte's unique industrial heritage is important as well as addresses the larger issue related to the lack of appreciation of industrial heritage landscapes within the field of historic preservation as a whole.



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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Clark, Carol A.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 4, 2012