MINES AND MINERS
On the Northern Pacific going west the engine which has been pulling your train eases its labors as it begins to make its way down from the crest of the great divide. All around is the wilderness of mountains and rocks wooded sparsely with gnarled and twisted trees. Suddenly, as the train goes round the curve, in this desolate and lonely wilderness at the top of the world one sees, a little below and some miles ahead, the city of Butte. At any hour of the day the sight of so considerable a city in the heart of the Rocky Mountains brings a sense of astonishment; if your approach is after darkness has fallen that astonishment is mixed with wonder and delight. Here, out of night on the tumbled wilderness, rises the city of light.
It cannot be said that Butte at close hand is itself a city of beauty. It is a city of extraordinary interest, a city which in its physical aspect, its tumultuous past, and its present slow decline symbolizes beyond any other city in America the problems of the exploitation of the mineral resources of America and the men who mine them. Butte is a city which copper has built and which the discovery of copper in South Africa and South America, where it can be more cheaply exploited, had sentenced to a slow decline even before the great depression hastened the processes of decay. Butte exists for one purpose only and that is to get copper out of the ground. Shafts go down to great depths from the middle of its streets. It has been a pioneering mining camp and then a modern city. It has seen the ruthless strife for power of copper-barons who wrote some of the most picturesque