• Glacier Mountain Goats Montana Magazine

    Fan favorites of 2014: Which stories did you like the best?

    With 2014 coming to a close it’s hard not to look back and remember more than a few great stories we found to share with you inside Montana Magazine.

    But what did you, our online readers, decide were their favorites? Here’s our top four most popular stories of 2014, as decided by all our online friends.

    Butte's underground speakeasy. Photo by Lisa Wareham

    Butte’s underground speakeasy. Photo by Lisa Wareham

    What’d we miss? Tell us your favorite feature of 2014 by emailing editor@montanamagazine.com.


  • oneill

    Montana news: Osama bin Laden shooter from Butte?

    Montana is making news in a big way today with a story coming from across the ocean.

    The Montana Standard had a story online today saying that a British tabloid is reporting that it was a Butte native who killed Osama bin Laden.

    Rob O’Neill grew up in Butte and his father, Tom, still lives there.

    A 16-year veteran of military service, Rob O’Neill is now a motivational speaker. He spoke late least year at the Maroon Activity Center.

    “It doesn’t matter where you come from, you can do anything,” he told The Montana Standard in an interview before his speech. “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do the best you can.”

    At the time, he declined to discuss the specifics of the raid that led to the bin Laden’s death. 

    Here’s a 2013 story by Angela Brandt about Rob’s return to Butte.

    According to the Standard’s story, Tom told the UK’s  Daily Mail  that Rob did kill Osama. He also took part in the mission that helped save “Captain Philips” from Somali pirates. That mission inspired the movie starring Tom Hanks.


  • Meet Butte’s most famous dog, The Auditor

    A feisty Auditor is seen above in his younger years, before he acquired his trademark coat of dreadlocks. Courtesy of the Montana Standard

    A feisty Auditor is seen above in his younger years, before he acquired his trademark coat of dreadlocks. Courtesy of the Montana Standard

    He was a mongrel, a dog with dreads who lived long past the normal lifespan of most mutts in one of Montana’s harshest climate. He’s a piece of Montana history you’ve got to know about.

    He was The Auditor and he lived his life as a stray dog at Butte’s Berkeley Pit, where he gained a place for himself with the rest of the Big Sky Country’s quirky icons.

    The “Mysterious Mine Dog” was remembered recently in Butte’s Montana Standard, as a beloved mascot of the town.

    The Auditor was first seen roaming the mine in 1986.  The mongrel, who got his name from employees “by always showing up when you least expected it,” lived almost all his years wandering the barren waste dumps, leach pads and mine roads above the rim of the Berkeley Pit in virtual solitude

    The only time Auditor could be expected was at dinner, when he came to his shanty where mine employees would fill his dishes with food and fresh water. Human contact was something the elusive mongrel avoided when at all possible. Armored by a coat of dreadlocks, the animal would disappear for weeks, even in the bitter cold of Butte’s winter. But as his name stuck, he would always appear just about the time his friends at the mine had given him up for dead.

    The Auditor died in his dog house in 2003, but not before he became a state legend. He’s now memorialized with a statue at the Butte Chamber of Commerce building.

    Here’s another story from the Standard about the Auditor’s 2003 death.

    – Jenna

  • Butte's underground speakeasy. Photo by Lisa Wareham

    Throwback Thursday: Unlocking the history of Butte’s long forgotten underground speakeasy

    Here’s a fun through back Thursday for you: One the most popular stories of 2014 (so far) the mysterious and wonderful tale of the long forgotten Rookwood Speakeasy uncovered underground in Uptown Butte.

    Butte wasn’t necessarily a place that was pro-prohibition. For instance:

    “It is estimated,” The Butte Miner reported, “that 150 gallons of whiskey, 1,500 bottles of beer and 30 gallons of wine were destroyed by the hue and cry.”

    “The agents, taking advantage of the evening rush hour of thirst quenchers, had little difficulty in entering any of the places,” The Anaconda Standard added. Arrested at the Rookwood was infamous bootlegger and moonshiner Curly McFarland.

    The full story is up now.



  • Mysterious story of Copper King’s daughter makes for one good book

    It’s always funny how closely connected we are here in Montana. What’s the saying? In Montana, it’s not seven degrees of separation, but three?

    It’s something like that.

    Montana Magazine book reviewer Doug  Mitchell found some surprising connections to the Huguette Clark’s story, detailed in the new book “Empty Mansions” by Bill Dedman. It really is a fascinating story about Huguette and her highly unusual lifestyle. She spent decades in a New York City hospital room while various, sweeping mansions sat empty. She was the daughter of infamous Copper King W.A. Clark, who made his fortune in Butte.

    Doug, from Helena, found that during his travels with his wife, he’d been close to many of the mansions. We weren’t able to print Doug’s entire story inside the Jan/Feb issue, but you can read the full edition online at MontanaMagazine.com. 

    We’ve also posted the extended version of Doug’s chat with Bill Dedman. Among a ton of other great behind-the-scenes details, Dedman told Mitchell that he drew much of the story from 20,000 pages of correspondence Huguette wrote and 20 years of nurses notes. It’s always fascinating to hear more about how an author finds, crafts and presents their story.



  • A look into the future

    The Roockwood Speakeasy. By Lisa WarehamWhat will 2014 bring to MT Magazine?

    We’ve got some good things cooking at MT Magazine as we head into 2014.

    Our transition for Helena headquarters to Missoula is complete and planning for the next six issues is in full swing. (A year can go by pretty quickly when you break it up into 6 chunks!)

    We’re already working to get the January/February issue ready – it’s due to the printer by Dec. 13. Megan, our amazing art director, is the one who puts all the pages together for us.

    She’s working hard on that now and take it from me, it’s looking good.

    Our first issue will feature several stories from everyone’s favorite Montana city, Butte (one of my favorites at least).

    Ever visited the Rookwood Speakeasy? It’s a long lost bar that was abandoned during a Prohibition raid by the federal government. Patrons left their hats and coats there in the chaos.

    More than 70 years later, the speakeasy was uncovered – the poker chips were still on the table.

    Now, it’s a part of a historical tour of Butte.

    We’ve also got a review of the book “Empty Mansions,” about the mysterious life of Huguette Clark. Her fortune was worth millions thanks to her copper king father, W.A. Clark, yet she lived for the last several decades of her life inside a lone room at a New York City hospital.

    As for later issues, we’ve got some really cool things planned. Ever heard of Casey Anderson or his bear Brutus? Know anything about sugar beets? (Hint: its one of the biggest crops that comes to Billings to be processed).

    Our May/June issue will feature stories from Central Montana. Our July/August issue will focus on Glacier Country.

    But that’s still a ways out. Stay tuned for more…