Socialist Hall

Also known as: Fran Johnson's Sport Shop
1957 Harrison Ave., Butte, Montana


Socialist Hall

Photo taken by Richard Doody in September 2018




"SOCIALIST HALL - Hands and forearms clasped in solidarity symbolize a movement of local and national significance during the first decades of the twentieth century. One of the few socialist meeting halls remaining in the United States, the building is a monument to a turbulent era of labor unrest and political action. Socialists in Montana played an active role in forcing mainstream politicians to consider labor reforms. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Anaconda Copper Mining Company dominated Montana politics, much of the economy, and nearly everything in Butte, personifying all the negative aspects of the capitalist system. Butte, known as the “Gibraltar of Unionism” with its huge working class, was thus central to the socialist movement. Members constructed this hall in 1916. It was the heart of socialist activity in Montana, housing the Socialist Party of Montana, the Butte Local, and the Butte Socialist Publishing Company. World War I hysteria prompted Montana to enact the nation’s most stringent measures to suppress radicalism and dissent. The Socialist Party suffered severely. In 1920, it deeded the building to the Bulletin Publishing Company, whose Butte Bulletin, edited by electrician and radical unionist W. F. Dunne, carried on the party’s principles by supporting the Non-Partisan League. Dunne lost the building to taxes in 1924 and the Bulletin ceased publication. Socialist Hall, with its rallying inscription “Workers of the World Unite,” is a poignant reminder of the efforts to create a “cooperative commonwealth” and the solidarity engendered by the Socialist Party of Montana." - NRHP/Montana Historical Society Plaque

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 26, 1995
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Western Commercial
Areas of significance
Politics/Government; Communications; Social History
Levels of significance
National; State; Local
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic functions
Meeting hall; Communications facility
Current function
Specialty store
Period of significance
Significant year


20th Century (29,076)
Brick (42,462)
Built 1916 (786)
Built during 1910s (8,816)
Butte, Montana (13)
Mabie. J. Frank (1)
Meeting hall (1,543)
Montana (2,200)
Private owner (54,398)
Silver Bow County, Montana (359)
Stone (26,160)

Update Log 

  • June 10, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added description
  • September 23, 2018: New photos from Richard Doody
  • July 7, 2018: New photo from Richard Doody