A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Butte, North Dakota


One of the comments I received about Anamoose she said that her mother grew up there, then added that she herself grew up in Butte.  I looked up on my map to see where Butte was.  Why just a short detour.  And when I saw that Butte had only seventy people well I just had to go see that.

I dropped off my camp fee for Drake then we took off.

About twenty miles later we turned off Highway 53 and there stood all of Butte
 just across the railroad tracks.

The added feature was Google Maps showed their park had camping.  Cool.
I pulled over into the shade to get my bearings.
The lady in the white car waved at me as she got out.
People in the midwest are so friendly.  I had a lady wave at us as she drove by when we were in Drake.  I was inside.  She couldn’t even see me.  She waved anyway.

The interesting buidling up ahead which I thought must be their city hall, court house and municipal offices was nothing more than the high school.
To the left was supposedly their park.

Well, I guess that is it.  What, I park anywhere on the grass?
It just didn’t feel right plus with the heavy rain that night before I felt the grass would be all mushy and I could just see us getting stuck and my having to flag down a farmer in his John Deere tractor to pull us out.

I wandered around some more thinking maybe the camping was someplace else.
We drove by the elementary school which was an appendage from the high school.
It had an apocalyptic look to it.  I don’t think it has been used in some time.
Sorry Kathe, but if you went to school here things have changed.
It may no longer be how you remember it.

I decided we would leave and continue on down the highway.
Just before crossing the train tracks I saw their WELCOME sign out of the corner of my eye.
I think you can see how I missed it coming in.  It is well camouflaged. 

And then I saw it through the sign - electrical plug-in posts.
I turned and had indeed finally found the campground hidden on Main St.
The railroad crossing was right there across the street.
We moved on.

For sure we have driven by, maybe even through, towns smaller than Butte in population.  Back when Sinbad was with me we were in northeast Missouri.  I wanted to revisit Tindall to see how it had changed from how it was when I was a little boy, visiting with my grandmother.  My great grandfather owned the little grocery store.  Tindall had a population of seventy-nine.  Butte would set a new record low for a town I purposely visited, not simply one I passed by. 


Debby said...

What a nice detour for your commenter! I 70 people. We have had more than that at family parties.

Barbara Rogers said...

Being waved to by the lady in the white car probably means you will be the news of the ladies club (not official of course) when they talk over the back fences, or whatever means they get together to share the small town gossip. Oh, I bet it's after church today! Too bad you didn't parade Beans for a walk for them also!

Kathe said...

Wow! Thanks for taking the time to visit Butte! 12 miles from nowhere is the joke. The town I grew up in was a jumping place. Seven churches, 2 bars, 2 grocery stores, 2 cafes, lumberyard, 2 welding shops, 2 implement shops, 2 gas stations. I still remember Saturday nights in the summer downtown when all the local farmers came in for groceries. The sidewalk was crowded, everyone visiting, kids running all over. Big families. Mine was 8 kids. City Hall is the big green building on main street. I roller skated there every Saturday night. What you see is the comparison of an 85 year old to a 20 year old. Butte went the way of the small farmer. My brother still farms the family farm but lives in Bismarck half the year. Our family home, a block from the school, was lived in until my youngest brother passed on 3 years ago. I visit every summer and walk the streets in the evening listening to the mourning doves call, and remember. I'm so grateful for those years growing up knowing who and what we were as a people. I'm 72 now and living in Albuquerque. Another planet. Thank you for being so kind and taking your time to drive through. I'm sure that you realize what you see as you travel is not what was, but now what is. The land is still there under your feet. Whispering to every generation. We pass the baton.

Debby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debby said...

The closing two sentences brought tears to my eyes. Well written, Kathe.

Kathe said...

Thank you, Debby. I'm grateful for this blog. It's a journal not only of place, but of time. We live in a beautiful nation. It's worth fighting for. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, so they can have their place in Time. Thank you again, John.

Anonymous said...

Join our Facebook page The Butte Hometown Friends and be a virtual part of our community!

Billy Blue Eyes said...

I remember what the village I live in looked like 60 years ago and it was a much nice place to live and looked much nicer, now it has expanded and all the places I remember are disappearing under housing developments so greedy dev7elo7pe7rs and councils can make money. If I was looking for a house now this village I live in would be last on my list. Places change and a lot of the time not for the better