A look back: Big celebrities visit Mining City over the years

TRACY THORNTON

Even from its early days, Butte residents loved to be entertained, and the applause, more often than not, echoed loudly throughout the crowd.

In the early 1890s, patrons could watch comedy as well as tragedy at Maguire’s Opera House, New Theater Comique, Renshaw Hall and Turnverein Hall.

By 1915, the number of theaters would more than triple.

The young mining town had a reputation for being a rough-and-tumble place. It also had a reputation for having the best entertainment to be found not only in Montana, but the Northwest.

Residents hungered for entertainment and their love for the arts was unsurpassed. Whether it be vaudevillian acts, staged plays, concerts, or when the circus came to town, they were loyal patrons and came out in droves to be entertained.

It didn’t hurt that theater owners were successful in bringing top-notch acts to town. That’s because the playhouses were first class and truly ornate. And, by the way, the town was happy to share.

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Special trains were commonplace and would bring Anaconda, Helena, Great Falls and Bozeman residents to the Mining City.

Those theaters played host to some of the greatest entertainers

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