Butte Citizens for Preservation and Revitalization

P.O. Box 164, Butte, MT 59703
info@buttecpr.org

Miners Union Bar / Greek Cafe / Tia Juana Chili

The Greek Cafe building on the corner of Park and Wyoming

88 East Park at the corner of Wyoming. The Imperial and Ivanhoe Blocks (to right in picture) are presently undergoing renovation.

Historical research by Irene Scheidecker:

The building actually had 3 entrances on Park Street: 84, 86, and 88 East Park.

In 1917, a two-story commercial building was erected at the corner of East Park and Wyoming streets. East Park Street at the time was a bustling commercial corridor, lined with shops and restaurants to serve Butte's large and diverse population. The building was designed from its start to house stores and a restaurant on its first floor: three shop fronts opened onto Park Street, and three onto Wyoming Street. The second floor was likely a fraternal hall for those of Greek descent-- no commercial businesses are listed there through years of city directories, but a Sanborn fire map shows "Greek Cafe 2nd floor" in bold letters.

1965 photo of the building showing the sign for the Tasty Lunch Cafe

Of the three Park Street storefronts, 84 East Park was a restaurant throughout its life. In 1918, it was called the Hazelwood Cafe. By 1930, the eatery was called Tia Juana Chili Parlor, and operated under that name for approximately 22 years. By the early 1950's through the mid-1960's, it was the "Tasty Lunch." 1965 photo at right courtesy World Museum of Mining. In 1967, it was listed as "Corned Beef and Turkey Plaza Restr." By 1969, the location was listed as vacant and appears never to have been occupied again.

88 East Park showing the Wyoming Street facade

The center Park Street entrance, 86 East Park, was a barber shop throughout the building's entire history. It was listed under the names Byer & Pissot in 1918. From 1940 to its final listing in 1969, it was called the Park Barber Shop.

The corner location (88 East Park), was listed under "Thos Stamatis, fruit" from the late 1920's through the early 1940's. By the late 1940's through the 1950's, this location served as Sevores grocery store.

Historic 'ghost sign' on the Wyoming Street facade of 88 E. Park.

There were 3 entrances on Wyoming Street: 5 South, 7 South, and 11 South. (Presumably, 9 South Wyoming was the entrance to the hall upstairs, since it never appears in the business directory).7 South Wyoming seems to have always operated as a drinking establishment. During Prohibition, it was listed in the city directory as "soft drinks place". In 1937, the Miners Union Bar opened at that location and operated there for 17 years. The building's historic "Grain Belt Beer" ghost sign dates from that era.

5 South Wyoming, when it isn't listed as vacant in the city directory, seems to have been an eatery: the Butte Chili Parlor in 1936, the Wyoming Cafe in 1937, and the Hamburger King in 1939. After that, the eatery appears to have been absorbed into the Miners Union Bar.

Cornice detail on the Wyoming Street facade of 88 E. Park.

11 South Wyoming seems to have been a 2nd hand store for much of its life, listed in 1928 under Solomon Kirshen, 2nd hand goods, and by 1939 as "Ideal Bargain Store."

The 1960's brought the rapid expansion of the Berkeley Pit, the re-routing of the highway that entered Butte right into Park Street, and the death of the East Park Street business corridor. The Anaconda Company bought up building after building to demolish. Beyond the first block of East Park, only those few stubborn holdouts who refused to sell were left standing.