Author: A Writer's Project
The Lusty Story of Butte, Montana
A Writer's Project
Copper Camp is a Montana classic. First published in 1943 and long out of print, Copper Camp is available again, bigger and better than ever with 25 new historical photos chosen specifically for this edition.
Copper Camp contains hundreds of brawling, bawdy, over-the-top, laugh-out-loud stories about Butte during the height of the copper mining in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Each story is told with keen wit, love, and appreciation for the world’s greatest copper camp and the people who lived, loved, played, and worked there.
Writers for the Works Projects Administration compiled the stories. Their aim was to reveal “the wealth of human interest held within the folds of the ‘richest hill on earth.’ Instead of the Copper Kings, here are the kids and characters, ministers, miners, mothers, girls from the line, bankers, and barkeeps. Of such stuff as strikes, parades, politics and people – above all, of rawboned, lively, honest-to-God people – is a mining camp composed; and Butte, in the opinion of many experts, if THE mining camp.
Copper Camp has been described as “a roaring human document that is as strong, and important as the town of Butte, Montana.” If you want to understand Butte, then read this book. If you want to experience the sheer joy of a wonderful book that takes you to a totally different time and place, then Copper Camp is for you, too.
Butte, Montana, famous as the Copper Camp, is full of fascinating characters and stories
BUTTE, Montana—Has there ever been a mining town like Butte? Not according to the classic Montana book, Copper Camp, which is available again for the first time in 25 years.
Copper Camp is the “lusty story of Butte, Montana, the richest hill on earth” during the copper boom of the late 1800s and early 1900s when Butte was high, wide, and wide-open. Written by the WPA in the 1930s, Copper Camp was first published in 1943 but has been out of print since 1976. Riverbend Publishing in Helena, Montana, has just published a new edition, including 25 historical photos.
“The stories in this book remind me of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, except that Copper Camp isn’t fiction,” said Riverbend president Chris Cauble. “The stories are almost unbelievable. It’s a great book for people who want to understand Butte, and it’s a wonderful book for anyone who likes to be taken to a totally different time and place.”
“The characters are fascinating and the quality of writing is exceptional,” Cauble said. “The writers were fully aware that Butte was a special place—a wonderful, never-to-be-duplicated kind of place—and they loved the town, all of it, the good, the bad, and the eccentric.”
There are hundreds of stories and anecdotes within the book’s 36 chapters. Most of the stories are about the common citizens, not the Copper Kings. According to the book’s introduction, “Here are the kids and characters, ministers, miners, mothers, girls from the line, bankers, and barkeeps. Of such stuff as strikes, parades, politics and people—above all, of rawboned, lively, honest-to-God people—is a mining camp composed; and Butte, in the opinion of many experts, is the mining camp.”
Copper Camp is a 336-page paperback book. It sells for $19.95 and is available at local bookstores.