Did You Know That Montana Once Had An Amusement Park?

In my family, my daughter and I both love amusement parks and rides, while my wife and son do not. For my daughter and me, the Montana State Fair gives us that chance to be the thrill seekers we are.

Sadly, I wish we had a chance to get our thrills more than once a year. It turns out Montana offered that opportunity over 50 years ago.

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Having not grown up in Montana, there are some things about the state that I just don't know about, and perhaps some younger readers don't know about either.

One of those things is Columbia Gardens, Montana's one and only amusement park, which was located in Butte.

It was built back in 1899 as a way to curry favor with the residents of Butte by one of the "copper kings," William A. Clark, who was hoping to be elected as a U.S. Senator.

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A merry go round during night

Anaconda Copper Owned The Amusement Park After Clark's Death

The park had all sorts of amenities and attractions, including rides like roller coasters and tandem swings.

There was also a picnic area, a petting zoo, and a lake.

An onsite greenhouse grew flowers that were then used for custom floral arrangements at the amusement park.

As if that wasn't enough, at one point, a baseball field was part of the park and home to the minor league team, the Butte Miners.

A boy and his mom ride on an amusement park ride

The Park Closed For Good In 1973

The Anaconda Copper Mining Company, which had owned the park since 1928, was losing money along with popularity in Butte and decided to shut down the park on Labor Day 1973.

Suspiciously, the park caught fire that November, and while the cause was blamed on an overloaded electrical transformer, residents suspected Anaconda Copper committed arson to clear way for the Continental Pit that soon took over the old park location.

Today, the memory of the park is being kept alive by the Spirit of Columbia Gardens Carousel.

Take a look at some photos from the history of Montana's one and only amusement park in the gallery below. 👇

A Look At Montana's Lost Amusement Park

For over 74 years Montana was home to an amusement park. Sadly it closed over 50 years ago. Take a trip down memory lane and see some photos from the history of Columbia Gardens, Montana's only amusement park.

Gallery Credit: Nick Northern

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