Welcome & General Information
Welcome to the website for the City-County of Butte-Silver Bow. We are a consolidated city and county government located in scenic southwest Montana along the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains. The communities within Silver Bow County are:
- Butte (county seat)
- Fairmont (partial)
- Silver Bow
QuickFacts for Silver Bow County, Montana
(From the U.S. Census Bureau State & County QuickFacts)
- Population, 2012 estimate: 34,403
- Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012: 0.6%
- Population, 2010: 34,200
- Persons under 5 years, percent, 2012: 5.8%
- Persons under 18 years, percent, 2012: 20.9%
- Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2012: 16.6%
- Female persons, percent, 2012: 49.3%
- White alone, percent, 2012: 94.8%
- Black or African American alone, percent, 2012: 0.4%
- American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, 2012: 2.0%
- Asian alone, percent, 2012: 0.6%
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent, 2012: 0.1%
- Two or More Races, percent, 2012: 2.1%
- Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2012: 3.9%
- White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2012: 91.7%
- Living in same house 1 year & over, percent, 2007-2011: 81.7%
- Foreign born persons, percent, 2007-2011: 2.0%
- Language other than English spoken at home, percent age 5+, 2007-2011: 5.0%
- High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25+, 2007-2011: 90.2%
- Bachelor's degree or higher, percent of persons age 25+, 2007-2011: 22.5%
- Veterans, 2007-2011: 3,379
- Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16+, 2007-2011: 15.7
- Housing units, 2011: 16,769
- Homeownership rate, 2007-2011: 65.5%
- Housing units in multi-unit structures, percent, 2007-2011: 20.9%
- Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2007-2011: $120,700
- Households, 2007-2011: 14,981
- Persons per household, 2007-2011: 2.19
- Per capita money income in the past 12 months (2011 dollars), 2007-2011: $22,249
- Median household income, 2007-2011: $40,030
- Persons below poverty level, percent, 2007-2011: 16.4%
- Private non-farm establishments, 2011: 1,120
- Private non-farm employment, 2011: 13,069
- Private non-farm employment, percent change, 2010-2011: -1.0%
- Non-employer establishments, 2011: 2,128
- Total number of firms, 2007: 3,754
- Women-owned firms, percent, 2007: 24.5%
- Retail sales, 2007 ($1000): 504,698
- Retail sales per capita, 2007: $15,486
- Accommodation and food services sales, 2007 ($1000): 78,285
- Building permits, 2012: 79
- Land area in square miles, 2010: 718.48
- Persons per square mile, 2010: 47.6
- The City-County of Butte-Silver Bow is located in the State of Montana in the Rocky Mountains.
- It is at latitude 46.0064° North and longitude 112.5297° West.
- The land area of Silver Bow County covers 719 sq mi (1,862 sq km).
- The city is located at an elevation of 5,538 ft (1,688 m) above sea level.
- The highest mountain peak near the city is Table Mountain in the Highlands Range at 10,223 ft (3,116 m).
- The valley of Butte is also known as the Summit Valley.
- Butte is surrounded by mountains on three sides: the East Ridge, the Highlands Range to the south, and the Boulder Mountains to the north.
- The terrain in the city is flat in the south and middle of the valley, and hilly and steep in the north around Historic Uptown Butte.
- While no major rivers run directly through Butte, many of Montana's premiere streams are less than an hour's drive away, making Butte an excellent hub for fly fishing, floating and camping. Rivers within a one-hour drive of Butte include the Big Hole River, the Jefferson River, the Clark Fork River, the Boulder River, the Wise River, the Beaverhead River and the Little Blackfoot River. Within two hours of Butte, visitors can enjoy the Missouri River, Rock Creek, the Blackfoot River, the Madison River, and the Ruby River.
- The white statue on top of the East Ridge is the Lady of the Rockies. It is visible from as far as 40 miles away near Anaconda. The Lady is lit at night. For tours and more information, visit the Lady of the Rockies website.
- The nearest easily accessible lakes to Butte are Georgetown Lake to the west in the Anaconda-Pintler Range, and Homestake Lake and Delmoe Lake on the East Ridge near Interstate-90. The nearby mountain ranges are home to many more small alpine lakes, and many of these can be reached via dirt roads or hiking trails.
- From the Alice Hill Overlook at the north edge of Butte in the community of Walkerville, five mountain ranges can be seen: the Flint Creek Range to the northwest, the Anaconda-Pintler Range to the west, the Pioneer Mountains to the southwest, the Highlands Range to the south, and the Tobacco Root Mountains to the southeast.
- Butte sits just on the west side of the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains. Butte's Silver Bow, Blacktail, and Basin Creeks are headwater tributaries of the Clark Fork River, which flows west through Missoula, Montana, on into Idaho's Lake Pend Oreille, and finally to the Columbia River.
- Butte sits over the Boulder Batholith, a large emplacement of igneous intrusive rock that forms from cooled magma deep in the Earth's crust. At the surface, the batholith is exposed as granite (more specifically quartz monzonite), easily visible as the boulders and striking rock formations found throughout the area. The batholith also serves as the host rock for the rich mineralized deposits that led to the mining boom in Butte and the area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- The historic underground mines of Butte created a massive tunnel network. Experts speculate that, stretched out, the mine tunnels would reach somewhere between 3,000 and 10,000 miles!
- An active geological fault, the Continental Fault, runs near the base of the East Ridge.
- Butte, formerly rich in copper ore, is now rich in parks and trails. See the Parks and Recreation area of the website for more information.
- The Berkeley Pit, bordering Butte to the northeast, was an open pit copper mine that operated from 1955 until 1982, when the pumps that had dewatered the underground Butte mines and the Berkeley were shut off. Since that time, the Berkeley Pit, as the lowest point in its watershed drain age, has slowly filled with water. Exposure to air and water caused minerals present in the rock to dissolve into the Pit water, which is highly acidic. Today, the Berkeley Pit is one of the largest contaminated bodies of water in the world, with over 40 billion gallons (over 150 billion liters) of metals-rich, acidic water, and it is managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Superfund environmental hazard. For much more information on the history and ongoing management of the Berkeley Pit, visit the PitWatch website.
Butte, the State of Montana, and the Rocky Mountain West are in the Mountain Standard Time (MST) Zone.
Butte time is 3 hours ahead of Hawaii (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time), 2 hours ahead of Alaska (Alaska Standard Time), 1 hour ahead of the west coast of the U.S. (Pacific Standard Time), 1 hour behind Chicago (Central Standard Time), and 2 hours behind New York and the east coast (Eastern Standard Time). Butte time is the same as Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, which all lie in the MST Zone. In Mexico, this time zone is known as the Pacific Zone.
During the spring and summer months, Mountain Standard Time becomes Mountain Daylight Time - clocks are set an hour forward in early spring, and reset an hour back in early fall.