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Butte is Montana’s fifty largest city and the seat of government for Silver Bow County. In 1977, the city and county governments consolidated to form the single entity of Butte-Silver Bow, although the municipality is generally known as Butte. The city began in the late 1800s as a mining town, located in the Silver Bow Creek Valley, also known as Summit Valley, which is a natural bowl high in the Rocky Mountains, straddling the Continental Divide. Primarily a copper mining town, Butte’s economy was boosted greatly with the advent of electricity and its demand for copper. Three men fought for control of Butte’s mining riches: William A. Clark, Marcus Daly, and Fritz Augustus Heinze. In 1899, Daly joined forces with William Rockefeller, Henry H. Rogers, and Thomas Larson to form the Amalgamated Copper Mining Company, later renamed Anaconda Copper Mining Company, which gained a near monopoly over the Butte area mines, which dominated Butte’s economy until the 1950s. John W. Bonner, the 13th governor of Montana, was born in Butte, as was Evel Knievel and his son, Robbie Knievel, both daredevil motorcylists. Judy Martz, the 22nd governor of Montana, was a Butte resident. Butte is in southern Montana, adjacent to Walkerville, to the north.


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