BUTTE - The old Butte neighborhood of Meaderville was swallowed up by the Berkeley Pit, but that neighborhood celebrated Christmas like no other.
“It was originally put up by the Meaderville Volunteer Fire Department in 1945 and they made a new one every year all the way to 1960. They really did it up, they called it a giant Christmas card and people from all over Butte and beyond throughout Montana would come here just to view the Meaderville Christmas display,” says Lindsay Mulcahy of the Butte Archives.
By the 1960s, Meaderville was completely consumed by open-pit mining. While the town is gone, Butte brought back the Christmas display. The Butte Fire Department and Race Track Volunteer Fire Department put up the reconstructed version at Race Track Park in Butte.
“It’s a big project, it was a lot bigger project than we were anticipating, but it was well worth it that we got it up and built,” says Race Track Fire Chief Gary Mattern.
Race Track Fire officials wanted to be part of the project because Meaderville was the closest department to them before it shut down with the city. Many citizens were happy to see the display being built.
“There was a gentleman that stopped and played us music for about 45 minutes off of his radio in his truck, just because he wanted us to have something to listen to while we were doing it, which was great and people stopped to stay thank you all day,” says Mattern.
The Butte History Club brought back the Meaderville display over 15 years ago with some original parts and some replicated parts. The fire chief says it's time to make some big repairs on the display so it can continue in the future.
“Moving forward, we’re probably going to have to modernize it a little more so it stays intact,” says Mattern.
The display is located in the park behind the Race Track Volunteer Fire Department off Grand Avenue.