W. A. Clark Mansion

219 W. Granite, Butte, Montana


W. A. Clark Mansion

Photo taken by Richard Doody in 2006




"CLARK MANSION - William Andrews Clark already was a successful businessman in Montana Territory before he came to Butte in 1872, having been involved in freighting, wholesale trade, and banking in Bannack, Virginia City and Deer Lodge. When he decided to enter the new field of silver and copper mining, the thorough Clark typically attended the Columbia School of Mines for a year. He built Butte's first smelter, and its first water system and electrical plant. In 1884, the year he chaired the territory's second constitutional convention (ending in Montana's second unsuccessful attempt at statehood), he also began construction of this mansion. Its three floors and 30 rooms would take four years and $260,000 to complete, by which time Clark was fighting the "War of the Copper Kings" after his defeat as territorial delegate to Congress. This mansion's "modem Elizabethan" architectural style was Clark's favorite. Throughout the interior are rich touches of fine hardwoods, including mahogany, cherry, laurel, sycamore, oak and both birdseye and curly maple. The mansion's nine fireplaces are adorned with imported color tiles, each capped by a hand-carved mantle in hardwood to match the room's decor.

Self-made multimillionaire William Clark spent an estimated $260,000 on the construction of this splendid thirty-two-room residence between 1884 and 1888. Though an astounding sum, that figure represented only a half-day’s earnings out of Clark’s seventeen-million-dollar a month income. The irregular architectural plan, a classic of Queen Anne styling, features porticos, arched windows, and elaborate decorative elements. The interior boasts finishing in a different wood for each room, frescoed ceilings, and Tiffany stained glass windows and chandeliers. The intricately carved staircase took four years to complete and was dismantled and displayed at the 1904 Worlds’ Fair in St. Louis." - NRHP/Montana Historical Society Plaque

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 6, 1970
Reference number
NR name
Clark, W. A., Mansion
Architectural styles
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival; Other architectural type; Modern Elizabethan
Areas of significance
Industry; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction; B - Person
Property type
Historic function
Single dwelling
Current functions
Museum; Single dwelling
Period of significance
Significant years
1884; 1888


19th Century (37,747)
Brick (42,462)
Built 1884 (482)
Built during 1880s (6,474)
Butte, Montana (13)
House (27,621)
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival (16,279)
Mansion (544)
Montana (2,200)
Private owner (54,398)
Sandstone (4,861)
Silver Bow County, Montana (359)
Slate (5,715)
William A. Clark (2)

Update Log 

  • July 14, 2019: New photo from David Jones
  • June 10, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added description
  • April 24, 2018: New photos from Richard Doody