The W.A. Clark Mansion also known as the Copper King Mansion is one of the most recognized and beautiful buildings in the state of Montana. Built during the years 1884 to 1888, it figures prominently in the history of Butte, as Montana was becoming a state. It was the residence of the famous William Andrews Clark ,one of the three famous Copper Kings of the state. It is the 28th stop in the travel series Off The Beaten Path.
The W.A. Clark Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. As the home of one of the three copper mining barons of the state, the residence played a role in the development of the regions economy.
The Copper King Mansion did undergo restoration work in 2012.
The mansion consists of 34 rooms and was built in the Romanesque Revival Style, that had become quite popular in the Gilded Age. The building contains fresco painted ceilings, stained glass windows by Tiffany and ornamented hand carved fireplaces.
There are ornately designed parquets of rare imported wood and elegant gilded staircases. One can find both gas and electric chandeliers in abundance, throughout the mansion. Clark did incorporate the most modern household inventions, that were available at the time.
Construction came under the direction of D.T. McDevitt. The woodwork was the responsibility of W.F. Beall & Co. from Chicago. There are numerous panels of bird’s-eye maple, Cuban mahogany, fine oak, rosewood and sycamore.
Plaster was painted with swirls of gold in the entryway, bronze in the octagonal reception room, silver in the dining room and copper in the billiard room.
The mansion is elaborately furnished with period antiques and furniture, with colorful oriental rugs.
The embellishments and many of the materials for the mansion were all imported at an enormous cost of $200,000 USD (United States Dollar). This would be the equivalent of $5 million USD today.
William Andrews Clark supervised every detail in the building of his red-brick Victorian mansion.
As one of the wealthiest men in Montana, William Andrews Clark built the mansion as a symbol of his wealth and power within the community. He and two other fellow industrialists, Augustus Heinze and Marcus Daly, were in a bitter ongoing competition, for control of the regions rich copper resources.
Clark supposedly was born in a log house in the state of Pennsylvania during the spring of 1839. The family would later move to Iowa in 1856.
In 1862, during the American Civil War, he traveled further west to become a miner. After working in the quartz mines in Colorado, he proceeded north the following year. He had been tempted to participate in the Montana Gold Rush.
Settling in the capital of the territory, his gold claim only paid moderate returns. Clark invested those in becoming a trader. He hired mules to move supplies between the booming mining communities of Montana and the city of Las Vegas.
Within a short time he would change his vocation, and would become a banker in Deer Lodge Montana. He began to repossess mining properties,when owners defaulted on their loans. Clark over time, became a major power in the Montana mining industry.
As the years passed, Clark amassed a fortune in mining, small smelters, electric power companies, newspapers and railroads.
As part of his transportation empire, he bought and then developed a watering stop that would grow into the city of Las Vegas. The surrounding jurisdiction, was fittingly named Clark County.
He is also largely responsible for the selection of Helena, as the political capital of Montana.
William Andrews Clark could now dream about a future in politics. He served as president of both Montana state constitutional conventions in 1884 and 1889.
His dream of becoming a United States Senator was first realized in 1899, but resulted in a massive scandal. It was later revealed he had actually bribed members of the Montana State Legislature, so they would cast a vote for him.
At the time, United States Senators were chosen by their respective state legislatures. The obvious corruption of this election and a number of others would soon change history, with the later passage of the 17th Amendment. Henceforth, Senators would be voted for by popular vote.
Since the other Senators refuse to seat Clark, he was forced from office, the following year. It was a major setback for Clark. He is reported to have said in response to the scandal, I never bought a man who wasn’t for sale.
After three more bitter campaigns for the Senate he was at last successful, and was able to serve one term from 1901 to 1907.
At the time of his death in 1925, at the age of 86, Clark had amassed a fortune of between $150 to $300 million. At just $200 million, it is the equivalent of close to $2.9 billion in the currency of today. This made him one of the wealthiest Americans, to have ever lived.
The mansion that he had built in New York City, sited directly across from Central Park on 5th Avenue, is considered by architectural historians, as the most expensive private home ever constructed in the city. Unfortunately, this fabulous residence would be demolished in 1927.
His other residence, the Copper King Mansion came into possession of the Cote family in 1953. Privately owned, the mansion now serves as a bed and breakfast, operated by the Cote clan.
The 5 rooms and suites available for lodging are elaborately decorated with period antiques,oriental rugs and rather dark woodwork. 3 rooms share a bathroom and the 2 suites feature sitting areas and private facilities with claw foot tubs.
Guided tours have become available during the summer tourist season. Winter tours are accessible by appointment only.
Copper King Mansion can be found in the downtown area, less than a mile from Montana Tech of the University of Montana Campus and 2 miles from the Big Butte Open Space Recreation Area.
Arranging A Tour
1-(406)-782-7589 or by e-mail: the firstname.lastname@example.org
To request a reservation for accommodation 1- (406) -782-7580
219 West Granite Street
Butte, Montana 59701,
The cost of an adult tour is $10.00 USD.
For a children is $5.00 USD.
If you are staying overnight at the mansion, the tour is provided free of charge,
Days and Hours of Park Operations
Guided Tours are provided from May 01 though September 30th
Appointments are required during winter months.
Please try to provide 24 hours notice ahead of a tour.
Tours go through all bed and breakfast rooms, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Tours are held at 10:00 am, noon, 2:00 pm and 3:30 pm.
Prices for Overnight Accommodation
Master Bedroom Suite (private bathroom) $150.00 USD
Family Suite (up to 4 guests) (private bathroom) $150.00 USD
Huguettes’s Room $135.00 USD
Andree’s Room $125.00 USD
Butler Room $105.00 USD
* There is a 7% State Bed Tax, that is added to the cost of your accommodation.
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free breakfast
- Free parking
- There is no restaurant on site.
- The mansion is smoke free.
- No pets are allowed.
- Children are welcome,but must be supervised.