History of the Mining Town: Metals Bank Builds a Shining Example of Cass Gilbert’s Work | Story


The Metal Bank building, 1973

Jet Lowe / Library of Congress


Born in Ohio, Cass Gilbert was already a nationally recognized architect in 1906, when he came to Butte to design Butte’s second skyscraper, the State Savings Bank building on the corner of Park and Main. Gilbert, 47, had established his reputation with the Minnesota State Capitol building.

The new Butte building, the current Metals Bank building, was financed by F. Augustus Heinze as one of its last local transactions before selling almost all of its assets to the Amalgamated (Anaconda) Copper Company . He provided much of the $ 325,000 for the bank building, which replaced a two-story structure and adjacent buildings.

It was one of Montana’s first skyscrapers, defined by its internal steel-beam frame construction, and the second skyscraper in Butte after the 1901 Hirbour Tower, one block north of Main Street.

Montana Architects Link and Haire were the general construction contractors. Link and Haire were architects or contractors for several other buildings in Butte, including the Mother Lode Theater and the Silver Bow County Courthouse, and Link was also involved with the Mountain View Methodist Church and the Immaculate Roman Catholic Church. Design.

One detail, the door to the 32-ton bank safe, was not installed until September 1907. It was hauled through the unpaved streets of the Northern Pacific depot on Front Street on a makeshift truck pulled. by a team of 26 horses. This door survives in a restaurant today, as part of a renovation in the late 2000s that also produced elegant lofts and condominiums on the upper floors.

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