Monday, September 12, 2016
Marcus Daly immigrated to the US from Ireland when he was only 15 years old. He soon made his way to California and then to the silver mines in Virginia City where he meet another prospector, George Hearst (soon to be the father of William Randolph Hearst). Hearst became very wealthy mining silver in Ophir, Utah and provided financing to Daly so that he could buy the played out silver mines in Butte, Montana. Daly was not interested in the silver because he had discovered a huge deposit of copper that lay under the silver vein. By 1890 the mines in Butte were producing over seventeen million dollars worth of copper a year and Marcus Daly was a very rich man.
The mines and the smelter that Daly built in the Anaconda, Montana required timber and the supply close by was quickly depleted. Daly’s search for a new source led him to the Bitteroot Valley. He liked this beautiful valley so much that he bought a summer house for his family and a large farm for his first passion, breeding racehorses.
The house was remodeled four times. Marcus Daly didn’t live to see the last renovation, a forty room Georgian-Revival style, but his wife, Margaret, lived in it until her death in 1941. The house sat boarded up and empty for over 40 years. When the heirs could not pay the inheritance taxes, all of the furnishing were auctioned off and the house was given to the state in 1987.
Guided tours of the house are given daily on the hour at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00. The tour gives a good overview of the house which has over 50 rooms. The rooms have been furnished using period pieces and original items that have been returned. The history of Marcus Daly, his mining businesses and his family is a bit lacking.
The house has a ramp at the entrance and an elevator to access all of the floors but there are a few steps or high thresholds so not every room is completely accessible.
The parking lot is large enough for RVs. Small RVs will fit in the accessible parking area which is located closer to the house.
Mansion 46.26759, -114.14254