Layers of Time Project

A Butte Then & Now Photo Series

I often walk around Uptown Butte imagining...

what it must have been like back in its heyday. How many people walked up Main Street over the years? Who were they? Where were they going? Did mining bring them to Butte? What were their stories? Do these families remain in Butte?

I am fascinated with the dichotomy of “then and now.” Of old and new. Of what has changed, and what is still the same.


This image combines an image from the BSB Archive’s Smithers Collection from years past with phantom fragments of today in the skyline and reflection.


The people today are generations past from the Smither’s image. The styles have changed. A baby carriage is a much sleeker stroller with bright yellow and green polka-dots. The attire is more casual – women in pants and men dresed down.


And while some buildings have come and gone, much of the view is still the same.


The snow capped Highlands against a crisp blue sky is certainly what those in the original image saw. 


The crisp shadow created by the East side buildings that stretches across the Broadway Street intersection in the early evening is the same today. 


Metals Bank is still towering. 

While only a few of the original buildings remain on the East side of Main, the effect is the same as it was back then. Beautiful architecture surrounded by towering mountains.

My curiosity is what started the Layers of Time Project: Photographing Butte now, and mixing that with the “then” photos from the Butte Archives, and other sources of images.

About Lisa Edwards

Photographing Butte since 2005

Chugger of Iced Mocha’s, wife and mother of 3 rambunctious boys (4 if you count my husband), lover of roaming alleys and finding hidden treasures like wooden sidewalks in Butte.

I love all things industrial landscape, all things historical, all things with stories. Including people – people have stories too, and the layers are often harder to discover than those of a city.

Butte Daily Photo is my side gig, next to my commercial & portrait photography business, Lisa Wareham Photography, and teaching business, Photo Bacon. All three combine my passion for stories, love of learning new things, & talent for explaining things with words and photos that are hard to explain.

Dear Time Traveler.

You don’t need 1.21 Jigawatz, or a Doc with spazzy white hair, in order to feel like yesterday is still a travel destination.

All you need? Is something dear to you – an image of Your City with yester-year mixed with current times. The lines of now and then blurred together in a way where history doesn’t end, but blends with today… 

The only thing noticeable? The hats. The pants. The mode of transportation.

…And you feel the same electric emotions as they did…you have the same aspirations of financial freedom that they did…the same aspirations of love and romance and family first and eating a pasty drenched in thick gravy at 4 a.m. without questions….just like they did…

The only difference in mindest? 

Is they were curiously imaging who would come after them (you), and you are wondering who came before (them). 

Layers of Time – a “Then and Now” project – are where everything meets, perhaps with more questions than answers, yes, but with something tangible to feel, to touch, to look at on your wall. 
You lay back on your couch, gaze at your wall, and start imagining…