78-80-82 East Park Street Butte, MT
Three story brick and cast iron hotel built in 1900
Photo taken by Richard Doody in September 2018
+46.01283, -112.5338246°00'46" N, 112°32'02" W
The changing character of East Park Street is well documented in the history of this rooming house, built as an investment in 1900 by Abraham Wehl. By this time, Butte’s first red light district, located on the block in the 1870s and early 1880s, had been firmly re-established to the south on nearby Galena and Mercury Streets. Handsome business blocks like this one, which replaced dilapidated mining camp buildings, brought some measure of respectability.
Records show that residents at the Imperial were primarily miners and others who worked nearby but in 1910 under proprietress Mamie Smith, the fifty residents included nine prostitutes. Prohibition and reforms brought further change to the neighborhood evident by 1920 when Hugh Quinn, a family man with six children, was tenant landlord. His thirty-three roomers were all men (predominantly miners) or couples with children. Like most rooming houses of the time, second and third-floor lodgings were arranged around a central skylight with ground-floor commercial space. The cast iron storefront, graceful upper-story arches, and decorative brickwork well represent turn-of-the-century Butte.
- June 27, 2019: New photos from Richard Doody
- October 1, 2018: Added by Richard Doody