Many of the windows that will be viewed on the tour were designed and created locally by Butte Art Stained Glass Works, which operated from 1892 to 1904 at 324 and 326 South Main Street. William H. Johnson managed the factory, and an 1897 account described his windows as the "work of a master hand" and the business as the "only exclusive glass house in Montana ... manufacturing mosaic, stained and art glass figure work for churches, public buildings and residences." The Art Nouveau movement began around 1890 and continued into the early 1900s. During this period, stained glass was used extensively in non-religious forms, such as windows and lamps. The Art Nouveau movement in America, characterized by its fluid floral designs, was practically synonymous with the name of Louis Comfort Tiffany, who also believed that art should be accessible to all, not just the rich. Butte's stained glass treasures show up in workmen's cottages as well as its mansions.
The tour will be comparable to a show of Christmas lights. Viewers are encouraged to drive or walk through uptown neighborhoods, looking at the stained glass windows from the road or sidewalk. Buildings will not be opened for inside viewing, but the inside lighting of windows will make them suitable for an outside display. Stained and leaded glass is common in many homes and businesses in the Uptown portion of Butte. Suggested routes for viewers should include those streets with significant artistic glass, including along Mercury, Galena, Park, Broadway, Granite, Quartz, Copper, and Caledonia Streets between the Commercial District and Excelsior Avenue. Caledonia Street from Excelsior Ave. to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church has an especially high concentration of leaded glass windows. The Uptown Commercial District has a surprising number of windows and door surrounds made up of stained or leaded glass. The Hennessy Building entrance is well known for its spectacular leaded glass, and the old City Hall, Dr. Robinson's office on Broadway, has a wonderful number of unique stained glass pieces. Churches in Uptown Butte have some of the most spectacular stained glass windows. Many of the following will be lit for the tour:
In addition to the evening tour, a guided tour of the stained glass in the rotunda of the city/county courthouse is available. Interested parties will meet inside the courthouse at 12 noon on April 1, 2005, and Mark Reavis, the local historic preservation officer, will explain the history of the glass.
Butte CPR is a non-profit organization that promotes the preservation of Butte's historic houses, commercial buildings, churches, and neighborhoods. Butte CPR obtained preliminary approval from the Montana Cultural Trust for funding a comprehensive guide that will detail the history of the stained glass in several Butte churches. Previously sponsored and conducted tours included the first stained glass tour in 2003, and tours of historic homes, the Anselmo and Steward mine yards, and the uptown commercial district.
Any building owner or occupant that would like to participate in the tour only needs to follow some basic lighting methods that will let people see their windows and doors in their "best light."
• Remove all coverings (drapes, blinds, and sheers) that hang inside the stained or leaded window.
• Place an unshaded light with a high wattage bulb, such as a floodlight, on the floor about 15 feet or so from the window, aiming the light directly onto the stained glass. If you have more than one stained glass window, light each one separately.
• If you don't have a floodlight, turn on the overhead light in the room with the stained glass, and turn off bright lights in other rooms.
• Make sure there are no obstructions between the light and the window.
BUTTE CPR • P.O. Box 164 • Butte, Montana 59703 • E-mail