The area in Butte, Montana, that is now AWARE’s Early Head Start facility (east of Arizona between Park and Mercury) was once home to the thriving Colorado Mine, which employed about 1,000 men at its peak.
In the early 1900s, it’s no secret that Butte was soaring to a peak population of nearly 100,000. It was quickly becoming one of the largest cities around, and it was certainly the richest. People of all nationalities flocked to Butte from all over the world in hopes of making a living on the thriving hill. They were chasing dreams, making money and starting families. It was an exciting time for everyone.
Like all things, though, it didn’t last forever. At the end of World War I, Copper demand started to fall. Butte’s population and once-thriving economy followed suit. Over time, people left and moved on with their lives.
For a bit, it was as if time was standing still on the hill. Mine yards were vacant with no promise of use in sight.
Then in the late 1990s, a collective effort emerged to repurpose the land for its highest and most beneficial use. Inland Properties donated the Colorado Mine site to Montana Energy Research and Development Institute (MERDI) so that the Continental Public Land Trust and AWARE could partner on the re-development of the property. The land was cleaned within EPA standards and contaminants were removed.
AWARE didn’t waste any time transforming a portion of the property into offices, a day care center, playground, landscaping, sidewalks and a parking lot. It was the first sign of activity the site had seen in decades.
There was life again between Park and Mercury streets. An area that once supported families through mining, now supports families through early childhood education and development. The cycle has come full circle.
From there, other developments emerged, effectively spearheading re-development of the entire area.
Can you believe all that happened 25 years ago? We've certainly witnessed many individual successes over each of those years at the Early Head Start center, and we aim to continue that tradition of providing care for children and families during the next 25 years and beyond. In the spirit of celebrating our 25th Anniversary check out our list of 25 ways you can support the future of our children.