The next few days are “Days of Remembrance” for us. On Thursday January 12th board members Lindsay Mulcahy, Jake Hanley and Shelly Jones will be on Partyline at 1 PM discussing the “Great 1895 Explosion” and our upcoming commemoration at the uptown fire station. Friday is the 4th anniversary of the Meaderville Spaghetti Dinner where we told the story of the explosion and explained our mission to bring the event back from the dust bins of history. It was a great event, held at the DEPOT which is almost GROUND ZERO. We completely filled the social room and spilled into the hallways thanks to the great people of Butte and surrounding area. On Sunday January 15th at 1 P.M. we will hold the commemoration for the 128th year of the explosion. Please join us for the commemoration and the reception following in the fire station where cake, cookies and hot beverages will be served. This will give you time to browse through the memorabilia of the event. We look forward to seeing you there.
The board of Butte Historical Memorials wishes everyone a safe New Years Eve and a wonderful 2023. We would like to thank everyone for their support in 2022 and in the previous years.
2022 was another year of changes at the sculpture site at the corner of Mercury and Idaho at fire station #1. On January 15, 2022 we held a 127th memorial ceremony at the sculpture site followed by a “Bite of Butte” fundraiser dinner at the Elks. In the summer we had a billboard directing people to the sculpture and the first part of our landscaping was completed. We had some very special guests at the sculpture site this summer; the Edmonton Bag Pipers and the members of the Montana State Firemen’s Association to mention just a few. In November we installed a vintage looking solar light on the call-box pole at the sculpture.
Our plans for the summer included the installation of lighting for the sculpture but supply problems with the electrical components has moved that project to spring 2023.
Stay tuned for future events and we look forward to seeing you in 2023.
December 13th is the National Day of the Horse and we would like to tell you the story of “Jim, the extraordinary fire horse”.
If you were a horse for the fire department you weren’t an old nag and you weren’t a work horse, you were a well bred horse, stout of heart, fleet of feet and calm under pressure. Jim was 10 years old when the 1895 explosion took place. He was the only surviving horse from the fire department. After the explosion his yearning to go back to the fire station was so strong he managed to go back to fire station totally by himself, what a long and lonely walk that must have been. Jim’s injuries were terrible and for a while they didn’t think he would survive, but he did!
Jim did not want to retire but the fire department thought they should retire him because he had been so severely hurt. But, he was a truly a fire horse and he wanted to work and work he did. After he recovered he occasionally filled in for sick or injured horses. He became the Buggy Horse for several fire chiefs.
For 16 years he took the wagon full of flowers every Decoration Day down to the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of the firemen.
Jim was loved and revered by the firemen and the citizens of Butte. Jim died at the age of 31 years in the fire station he called home.
Jim’s sculpture at the uptown fire station correctly depicts how he must have looked when he arrived back at the fire station on that terrible night in 1895. He had been through hell and came out on the other side.
The board of Butte Historical Memorials along with artist Martha U. Cooney Simonich and sculptor Jim Dolan are honored to tell the story of “Jim, the extraordinary fire horse”.
We decorated the sculpture on Friday (11/25/2022) for the holiday season.
The day was beautiful but a bit windy. Look closely at the top of the pole, we have added a solar light which is styled like lights from the 1890’s era. Fireman Ross Boggs put the wreath on the pole for us, we sure appreciated his assistance.
None of the people who perished due to the explosion ever thought Christmas 1894 would be their last Christmas.
We wish everyone wonderful and safe holiday season.
Three years ago today our first sculpture piece, JIM, THE HORSE was delivered to Fire station #1 on the corner of Mercury and Idaho. It was such an exciting day.
Now three years have flown by and Jim is no longer alone at the fire station.
We would like to thank everyone for their support helping this “Story in Metal” come into being.
Special thanks to Chris Fisk for telling us the story, Martha U. Cooney Simonich for her vision and to Jim Dolan for creating these amazing sculptures honoring the 58 souls who are forgotten no more.
We were delighted when the participants of the State Firemen’s Convention stopped at the sculpture site on July 11th, 2022. This fine organization of proud first responders was one of the first donors to believe in our goal of having a sculpture to honor the lives lost from the “Butte Warehouse Explosion of 1895” when 13 firemen, 1 policeman and 44 civilians gave their lives protecting Butte. We will be forever grateful for their support.
Butte Historical Memorials (BHM) is a local organization dedicated to interpreting and honoring Butte’s rich history through memorials, sculptures, and events. The group created a life sized statue honoring the 58 victims, including thirteen firemen, a policeman, and forty-four rescuers and bystanders that died on January 15, 1895 in this “Great Butte explosion.” They were lost to history for 125 years but will not be forgotten.
120 S Idaho Street
- Town Pump Charitable Foundation
- Buddy Fisher (Fisher Built LLC)
- NorthWestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy
- David Braaten
- Tom and Natalie Kenneally
- Edward L. Simonich and Martha U. Cooney Simonich
- Robins Family
- Montana State Firemen’s Association
- Butte Silver-Bow Archives