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City Desk

Take a hike into local history

July 8, 2019 

A walk?” said Catherine.

One foot in front of the other,” said Newt, “through leaves, over bridges- - -” Kurt Vonnegut.

We could also go through hills, neighborhoods, under bridges and alongside the occasional headframe. “Walking is our best strategy for improving health,” Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, and a wonderful way to learn about your town.


Do you love walking in the sunshine and exploring Butte’s history as well as the wonderful parks and trails that we have? The Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives, Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreation and the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department have come together to create a summer event that covers all of the above, “Hike through History.”


About a year ago Theresa Dennehy of the Butte-Silver Bow Public Health came up with the idea of telling Butte’s story while hiking through the lands and gazing at the buildings that created its history, doing so on the trails and through the neighborhoods in Butte.


Dennehy said that she had been spending a lot of time at the Archives with her mom to learn more about Butte’s history. She explained, “part of my job at the health department is to promote walking and to get people healthy.”


I thought that (Hike through History) would be kind of a fun thing to do, listening and learning at the same time as walking,” said Dennehy.


Dennehy’s next move was to meet with her boss, Lori Stenson and explain the concept. Needless to say Dennehy convinced Stenson. They then met with Nikole Evankovich, Assistant Director of the Archives and Bob Lazzari, Recreation and Events Coordinator of the Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreation.


Once all the necessary parties were at the table the planning began. When deciding on what trails to use, what stories to tell and so forth the group got together and did some old fashioned brain storming. “We tried to think, what would be the fittest, most fun, most informative historical wise, while at the same time promoting our great trail system,” said Evankovich. Those ideas were the building blocks for what was to come.


Evankovich went on to explain how it was important to them and to the concept that they try and spread this throughout all of Butte, not focusing on just one area. Highlighting the trail system was important, just as important as other places in Butte that are not attached to the trails. In other words, attempting to encompass as much of this historical town as they could, from west side to uptown and beyond. Getting in as much as possible was really important to support the whole concept of hiking through the history of Butte.


Presenters were chosen by their knowledge of topic. “There have been so many people that we have worked with regularly here in the archives and are lucky enough to get so many great people who come through our doors,” explained Evankovich. Once a trail head or topic was decided a presenter was decided on, and they just had to ask. “They have all been really gracious and really wonderful and on board right away,” said Evankovich.


Both Dennehy and Evankovich have walked some of these trails and have a good idea of the time it takes. The idea is to keep each session within a 60 minute time frame.


Dennehy explained that she did walk the St Mary’s route with the two speakers and said, “It took us exactly an hour, and we didn’t walk fast at all.”


This is a new venture so the hope is that there will be a lot of people show up. The first one lands on the Thursday before the folk festival and the hope is that travelers who have come to Butte for the music will join in the fun and get some history.


They are asking for a donation of $5.00 with the proceeds going to the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program and the Friends of the butte Archives.


Dennehy works with the Montana Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program. “We’ve paid for breast and cervical cancer screening for women who are uninsured or under insured,” said Dennehy. This comes out of a local fund to which people can donate. This fund has helped many Butte women.


Friends of the Butte Archives are the nonprofit arm and they are a fantastic board and are very generous to us,” explained Evankovich. She went on to say that they are funded by the Butte-Silver bow local government and the ‘Friends’ pay for a lot of extras. “So they take care of our exhibits and if there is something at the archives, they take care of that,” said Evankovich.


At this time there are five hikes scheduled for this year. Whether or not they do more this year will depend on many things, one of which will be participation.


We are really excited to partner with the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department and the Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreations. They do so many great things for our community and to be able to partner with them has been fantastic, we are really excited,” said Evankovich.


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