Incorporated in 1879 and consolidated with Silver Bow County in 1977. Mining is what made Butte. Silver, gold, and huge deposits of copper were mined from the 1860s until the 1990s. The city was most prosperous during World War I when the demand for copper was at its height. The county of Silver Bow's population swelled to over 60,000. Beautiful public buildings, theaters, hotels, and homes were built along with many fine commercial buildings.
As the demand for copper dwindled, so did the population. During the last half of the 20th century the population dropped by approximately 50 percent. Today, many fine historic buildings line the commercial and residential core of Butte. Although some have been restored, some have been lost to fire.