by Florian M. Cortese
Butte, Montana at one time produced 1/4 of all of the world's copper which earned Butte the title of "the richest hill on earth." It was doted with numerous mine shafts which were identified by these structures called gallus frames. The miners were delivered down into the mine shafts in "cabs" that were raised and lowered by steel engines located in the hoist house. It is said that Butte is a mile high and a mile deep, since many of the shafts dropped that far into the earth.
Near midnight on June 8, 1917, a fire broke out at the 2,400 foot level of the Granite Mountain Mine. It quickly spread to the neighboring Speculator Mine. Fire, smoke, and gas claimed the lives of 168 miners. The memorial, built in 1996, features letters to families from the fallen miners, a reproduction of the story in the Butte newspaper, and the names of the miners who gave their lives. The plaza of the memorial is paved with bricks bearing families’ remembrances. The memorial also provides a panoramic view of the remnants of mining activities on the Butte Hill from its earliest days to the open pit copper mining that continues today. The Speculator headframe is the only remaining structure at the site of this tragedy, which at the time was the deadliest such industrial accident in the world.
An elaborate walking trail winding nearly 4 miles through the hills surrounding many of the remaining head frames has been established. I shot this with my Canon 5D Mark III and 24-105 f/4L lens at 47mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/1600s and converted it to B&W using Silver Efex Pro. I did use control points on the sky and hoist house to increase the structure slider to bring out more detail/texture.