History of Glendale, Montana
How Glendale came to be known as "Glendale" is a matter of debate. Some early newspaper accounts mention "Clifton" whereas others claim it was "Clinton" that were in the running for the new mining camp's name. As legend tells, In 1875 both names had been written on opposite sides of a chip of wood which was then thrown over the assay wall to see which side would land face up. Some accounts claim that it was the "flipping of a coin" which was the more traditional way of settling a dispute. In either account, Glendale would prevail. An early newspaper reference made to the naming of Glendale stated, “Debate arose as to what the new Smelter town should be named. The men building the road to Lion Mountain in derision of the pilgrims occupying this place, called it “Soonerville,” and posted up mile stakes that read, “one mile to Soonerville,” but the pilgrims paid them back in their own coin, by naming the place they occupied “Sucker Gulch,” which name has “Stuck” ever since.” Glendale had a weekly newspaper which had been established in 1879 with Legh Freeman as the proprietor. The Glendale paper was known as “The Atlantis”. Glendale's merchants and business houses included a brewery, several saloons, general merchandise stores, hotels, a livery stable, an opera house, two dentists, a hospital, and eventually a two story schoolhouse, in addition to the largest skating rink operating in the northwest.
The Helena Independent dated 1877, ran a story of the new Smelter town and its rapid development; To a stranger visiting Glendale for the first time, the reduction works of the Hecla Consolidated Mining company are the center of interest. Upon these works, the business of the entire camp directly or indirectly depends, not only of Glendale indeed, but of Trapper to almost an equal degree for although some of the ores of Trapper are sent to Argenta for reduction, their amount, and the employment furnished in their shipment, is but little when we consider the steady stream of ore demanded by the Glendale works, and the great number of persons who find employment in supplying it. The foundation of the reduction works was laid a little over two years ago. Ever since then, improvements have been going on until the present time, when the works look as complete as anything can be, although we hear there are still additions to be made to them. The works as they stand consist of two water-jacket cupola furnaces, one reverberatory furnace already finished, and another, to be used in smelting copper, now in course of construction. The power furnished by a 28 inch Leffel turbine wheel. By this wheel are worked a blake crusher, a set of cornish rollers, a rotary force blast of immense force, and the different lathes, etc that are occasionally used.
By the crusher and the rollers, the iron ore used as a flux for the copper, is pulverized. When sufficiently fine it is mixed with the copper ore which is so soft as not to require crushing, and the mixture is then ready for the furnace. From the furnace there are three spouts, one for metal and two for slag, and by some improvement in the interior construction of Glendale furnaces stream of metal is constant, while others are tapped for slag. By this improvement the slag is kept from reaching the bottom of the furnace, and , consequently from chilling. The smoke stack through which the smoke and fumes from both furnaces escape, stands off at some distance from the works. If the blast were to ascend through the furnace and escape through a stack directly over it, a quantity of valuable metallic dust would be lost every day. Instead of ascending vertically, the smoke from the furnaces passes off through a horizontal flue leading from the dust chamber to the stack, through which it finally escapes. In the chamber some hundreds of dollars worth of dust are saved every day that would be lost. This fine dust is placed in a reverberatory furnace together with other ores which it will combine, so as to assume a massive form, in place of being an almost impalpable powder, and is then returned to the smelter. The small furnace only has as yet been used. The large one has been finished and ready for work for some time, but the 50 or 60 tons of ore necessary to keep it running could not be delivered with the teams engaged in transportation.
The contract of supplying the needed amount of ore has been taken, and the work of delivering it will begin this week, when the large furnace will likely be started. In working the small furnace 600 bushels of charcoal per day are used; but the large one will consume somewhere between 1200 and 2000 bushels of charcoal every twenty-four hours a day. The smelters and the village that has sprung up around them are on Trapper Creek, about 8 miles from the Big Hole river into which the creek empties. The village is built in the creek bed, and as the banks are quite steep, it not being very high, there has been no room for the ambitious town to spread itself but instead lies along the creek- a town of one street, about a quarter mile long and approaching pretty near the mathematician’s description of a line i.e. length and width But its citizens were not attracted to Glendale by the beauty of the town site, and the many improvements going on prove them to be confident that their village has a prosperous future before it. Among these improvements we noticed a fine brick store now being erected by Messrs. Thomas and Co., with a very large stone fire proof warehouse adjoining it. Several new dwelling houses are going up. One owned by our friend Frank Luton, who was probably led to believe by a little occurrence mentioned in another column under the head of married that more roomy quarters are needed-or may be by and by.
The town boasts of several saloons. The “Pony” owned by Fairfield and Peck.- The “Bit Saloon” by Dillabaugh, whose Kentucky whiskey we can vouch for as being better than some in Butte and at half the price- Luton's Saloon in Front of the Glendale House- and a large billiard hall kept by J.C. Metlin. There are one or two more, but we could not “smile” enough to go round, but will make a heroic effort to make the round trip on our next visit. John Mannheim is proprietor of the only brewery, which is quite a large affair. Chester and Mahan own the meat market and a livery stable of 22 stalls, and John Cannovan is landlord of the Glendale House, at which you can put up with confidence, for it is a well conducted hotel, and its landlord makes a point to treat his guests with politeness and to see that their wants are attended to.
The population of Glendale is about 125 and in this number are included but very few idlers, as almost everyone about the village is busy. As the reduction works increase in size and in working capacity a greater number of employees will be kept at work, and occupation given to a large number of citizens engaged in trade, etc. in the neighborhood. Upon the whole, Glendale is a very substantial little town about whose prosperity there is nothing speculative; nothing transitory. Being essentially a mining town, and its citizens engaged in the same industry as those of Butte, a constant intercourse is kept up between the two towns by this identity of occupation. But this intercourse is limited and compared with what it should be, as Butte is much nearer Glendale, I interest as well as in position, than any other town in Montana.
The Dillon Tribune described Glendale as a "shoe-string like town of one street, a mile long on the right bank of a small creek, pure as crystal in winter but muddy and yellow in summer from concentration of the concentrator at Greenwood, six miles above town." Its lower end was called Ragtown, and its upper portion, opposite the smelter where the officials and their families lived, was known as Toney Hill. The company hospital, opened in 1881 with Dr. Schmalhausen in charge, was "kept scrupulously clean and patients received kind attention and considerate treatment." Employees paid $1.00 a month from their wages toward its support.
It has been said that Trapper City and Lion City were towns of pine shanties and tents, and that when it rained or when the snows melted, both miners and horses struggled around in mud up to their knees. The first social centers there, as in most mining camps, were the saloons. Glendale’s first saloons were tents with rough boards laid across whiskey barrels for bars. Tents soon gave way to sturdy buildings when the ore wagons, returning from Corinne, Utah brought in handsomely carved back bars and highly polished mahogany serving counters. The first miners were young, unattached men, but families with children soon followed, giving the camps an air of permanence. A two-room school was built and A.F. Rice, who later established the business college at Butte, was one of the teachers.
The Glendale kids and the smelter men enjoyed a perpetual feud, the men constructed a bath house, warm water from the smelter was carried to the building by a trough, The lads of the smelter town, like young jungle monkeys, had the knack of perpetrating their mischief where it would cause the most annoyance, They would choose an opportune moment and dam the water in the bath house where they never tired of attempting to swim. (Ordinary bathing was "sissified" and to be avoided as long as possible) The smelter men kept a supply of charcoal, tar and oil handy which they sometimes poured into the bath house during a swimming party. This was found to be a positive method of routing the bathhouse parasites pro tempore, of course the boys retaliated by throwing trash into the pool, with great foresight, just when the men wished to bathe there.
The furnace's at Glendale wasted much of the valuable ore through flue dust, consequently, a reverberatory was installed. The fumes from the latter, however, were unpleasant and sometimes noxious. It was said that when one of the smelter foremen became displeased with an employee, the offender was put on the furnace to atone for his transgression, fancied or real. Road and poll taxes and hospital dues were deducted from the wages of those on the Hecla Company's payroll. A number of serious altercations ensued from this practice. The paymaster frequently received word that" so and so" was on his way up to collect his wages minus the taxes and intended to shoot the works if the words "poll", "road", or "hospital" were so much as mentioned. But threats failed to prevent the company from imposing its levies upon the earnings of the laborers.
Len Pickett was a wagon boss for the Murphy-Neal Freighting Company of Glendale during it's boom days . He decided that the town should have a brass band. From the ranks of his teamsters he selected much of his band material, Pickett figured that the men who could so adroitly manipulate the "ribbons "and so expertly “crack the silk" over the six to eighteen horses and mule teams which strained daily with heavy laden wagons from the Hecla Mines, should have no difficulty in mastering the technique of band instruments and music. To complete the band, Pickett added a saloon keeper, a druggist, and several merchants. A musician from Butte was hired to instruct the band members. The band, which was called the Glendale Brass Band, soon came to be considered one of the best in the state, and often played in Dillon and Anaconda. A company wagon was used for the band-wagon, when the band had an engagement, it was said that Lon Pickett (himself a member) gave his men "leave with full pay" and the others locked up their establishments unhesitatingly. The driver of the wagon wore a silk hat. The drum major wore a plumed hat and the band members were uniformed.
The Glendale Brass Band provided music for every occasion. A Glendale resident was once laid away in the old cemetery to the strains of martial music. It happened like this: a Glendale physician became ill and died. But before his death he requested that the band render a certain march at his funeral, nobody was familiar with the "tune". The band was composed of true westerners who believed with Robert Service that "a pal’s last need is a thing to heed ". So the scores were ordered, but it took quite a while for them to come and there was another more serious handicap. The Glendale pioneers were highly resourceful, though, and somebody invariably thought of the right answer. So the doctor's remains were carefully packed in ice (old timers insist that he was pickled in ice) until the music arrived and the band practiced enough to play the funeral march. Among the members of the band were Ben Mahan, "Hank" Overly, Billy Cook, "Waxy" Evans, Mike Goldberg, Lon Pickett, Pete Wagner, Hans Peterson, Ed Alward, Mr. Lossee of the Armstrong and Lossee Company was drum-major and Horace Hand drove the wagon.
The machinists at the Glendale smelter constructed a smooth, bare, steel cannon of small caliber for use on the fourth of July and other occasions when noise is required to help the people of Glendale rejoice. Anytime an event occurred that the towns people felt a need to declare, they would fire off this cannon which was nailed to a pole. Glendale reached the peak of productiveness in the early 1880's. In those days it was generally thought that the town was destined to flourish permanently, Glendale-ites were confident that the smelter camp was an embryonic city. Some of the old timers insist that Glendale was once in line for the state capital-ship. In 1881 when the bitter county seat fight was being waged in Beaverhead County, Bannock slyly nominated Glendale, a clipping from an old issue of the Dillon Tribune quotes a spokesman for the Bannock tribe. "Why not Glendale? Why not Glendale? Its mines will make it permanent, Glendale will be growing when the train goes through Dillon without whistling. Glendale was then larger than Dillon but the rough country in which the smelter town lay made it unsuitable for a county seat. The 'Bannock constituency was suspected of trying, by adroit flattery, to secure the solid vote of Glendale for Bannock, However, the strategy of the Bannock tribe failed, Dillon is on the map, but Glendale and Bannock thrive only on memory.
The skating rink which occupied a prominent position on a hill, was the largest hall in the state and was constantly enlivened by dances and skating parties. Former residents of Glendale still recall the thrill of the big rally held at the rink when J, K. Toole was campaigning for governor of Montana. Toole was the democratic entrant in the gubernatorial race and Gannon was a candidate for superintendent of education on the Republican ticket, both were elected. The people organized a great torchlight procession. The column wound through the streets of the town and up the hill to the rink, and the flickering light of the torches made a brave showing against the somber darkness of the barren, encircling hills. Dances held in the big hall were attended by people from Bannock, Argenta and many other points. The rink was large enough for twenty sets (four people to the set) dance quadrilles at one time. At that time, Glendale had a bank, two drug stores, several dry goods stores, barber shops, a harness and wagon shop, seven or eight groceries, a justice of the peace, several doctors, a company hospital, a number of restaurants, a tailor shop, a fine jewelry store, an opera house, several lodge halls, a meat market, a couple of confectioners, two shoe stores, a photograph gallery, and a school house which could accommodate 200 students.
Glendale did not lack for recreation. There was Bannock Lodge No. 3 of the LO.O.F. and for the Masons, Glendale Lodge No. 23. A race-track was laid out on the flat behind the two-story schoolhouse, and a roller-skating rink stood two blocks east of Henry Knippenberg's residence on a hillside. Socials were held in the church hall or in private homes, and by the middle 1880's, theatrical companies performed in Glendale's Opera House. Frequently, troupes from Maguire's Opera House in Butte gave "Fanchon the Cricket" and other popular melodramas to the play-hungry miners. The Rosedale Dramatic Players, and other troupes staged performances and drew capacity crowds. On show nights, people from Hecla and Lion City flocked to Glendale to enjoy a type of entertainment usually found only in the larger cities. Such productions brought whole families down from Hecla and Lion City despite storm and bad roads, especially in the winter when entertainment was scarce. Once, when a traveling company was caught in a blizzard between Melrose and Glendale, the audience waited four hours for the curtain to go up. The performance ended long after midnight, to the complete satisfaction of the audience.
Sometimes, after a play, there was a free dance that went on until dawn, dances were held at Hecla too. Mrs. Chinn said that she and other young folks would ride horseback, the ten miles over steep mountain roads to Hecla, dance all night and ride back to Glendale in the morning. She remembered that although there were plenty of saloons there, drinking at dances was frowned upon and there was very little of it. Glendale had the usual homegrown entertainment, church socials, Sunday school picnics, school programs, card parties, and those featuring charades. Glendale’s younger crowd, and some not so young, could boast also that they went roller skating on the biggest skating rink in the northwest.
An article in the Dillon Tribune dated to September 26,1885, talks of one of Glendale’s favorite past times “A stranger entering Glendale last Sunday might have believed it to be a legal holiday, judging by the large crowd of people who turned out to witness the horse race. The race was between E.R. Alward’s black horse and a gray horse belonging to A.L. Pickett, Alward’s horse won. It is said that about $1300 changed hands that day.”
The Post Office at Glendale was formerly established on July 23, 1875, when Ulysses S. Grant appointed Louis Schmalhausen as the first postmaster. The business became very lucrative. When J.C. Keppler became the postmaster, his reports disclosed that the receipts for money orders reached $2000 per month, and the sale of postage stamps was $200 monthly. The Hecla Company also built a waterworks and fire protection system. Water from Trapper Creek was diverted through a ditch from where it was conveyed downhill at a drop of 130 feet above the smelter. The twelve inch wrought iron pipe brought the water into a turbine and then transferred it throughout the city. According to a map drawn by the Sanborn-Perris Map Company, of New York, in October of 1891, nearly a mile of three inch pipe carried the water to several two inch hydrants, located at strategic points in Glendale. A force of 100 to 135 pounds per square inch was the estimated pressure at each outlet, where hoses of 50, 100 and 150 foot lengths were found. Many fires in Glendale resulted in considerable loss. One such fire broke out at the blacksmith shop and the Hiram Stuart Furniture store and Brown photo gallery were destroyed.
The company built large flue dust chambers at the smelter reducing the number of lead poisoning cases at Glendale. At the insistence of the town's people, the furnace stacks were built higher so as more effectively to dissipate the fumes. The Hecla Company officials and their families lived in spacious and elegant residences built opposite Smelter Hill. Some of the houses were fronted by terraced lawns and were the secret envy of the citizens who lived on the "other" side of the tracks, Most of the company families employed Chinese houseboys. The people dwelling on the Glendale Acropolis were considered high toned by the inhabitant of Rag town or lower Glendale, and so the hill where the former resided was dubbed "Toney Hill" which it is called to this day. Toney hill-ites, however, did not have the hill entirely to themselves, a number of Rag town Squatters lived there in not so elegant abodes. Knippenberg would also build himself a beautiful mansion that was above and beyond anything that would seem appropriate of a mining community of the day. It boasted of six fireplaces, silver doorknobs, Brussels carpeting, closets lined with cedar, and a very large retaining, rock wall surrounding the home which sat atop the hill overlooking the Smelter and town.
The rag town kids did not allow the Toney Hill kids past a certain line of demarcation near Pond's store. A fight ensued if Toney boys were caught in Rag Town territory. The boys from lower Glendale were noted battlers, what if the feet of some of the Rag Town lads were not as well shod they might have been? And what if their stomach were not too well filled? They still could put Toney Hill to flight and nothing else mattered. If Glendale enjoyed good times, it also felt the depression brought on by the panics of the period. People with large families sometimes had a hard struggle for existence but they were too busy to be gloomy and they often danced on the pine knotted floors of their cabins to the strains of, “Pop Goes the Weasel” and other tunes, Dave Terry was usually the fiddler on these occasions".
Glendale went on to flourish as a mining camp that was home to over 2000 people at any given time. It is said that during the life of this mining community, more than 10,000 individuals lived or passed through Glendale. Like any town or city, there were neighborhoods and areas that were divided by social economic factors but most of the towns-people lived and worked along the winding road that went through town. When the Hecla Mining Company went under around 1900, the town started to breathe its last breath as citizens began taking down their buildings, moving them further down the gulch at Melrose which was closer to the railroad. Many others would simply pack up and move on to the next big mining discovery in Colorado, Idaho, or Arizona. Not much remains today of Glendale except the stack and a few ruins of the old Hecla Smelter and the original office building that was among some of the earliest built in the area. Glendale may be gone in the physical sense of the word but it will always be remembered and remain in the hearts of those of us who continue to visit the area that was home to our Ancestors and remains the final resting place of our loved ones who came before us.