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Documentary in the works about the destruction of two towns in Butte

"The company had eminent domain, they have an eminent domain law and we had no choice.."
Meaderville
Posted at 4:04 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 10:53:59-04

BUTTE — Dan Fulton and his son want to bring the story of Meaderville and McQueen to the big screen. The two are working together to make a documentary about what happened and the aftermath of the two suburbs in Butte.

"It is really fascinating. We’ve done four or five interviews with people, first-hand accounts that lived in Meaderville. That lived in McQueen," said Fulton.

One of those people is Tom Holter. He worshiped at Holy Savior Church as an altar boy and had lived in McQueen most of his life, even settled down there with his wife, before the mining company moved in to take their houses.

"We sold our house in McQueen for $14,500 for that house in McQueen and of course my mother's house in our backyard, they did give her a house up McGlone Heights," said Holter.

Those who lived in McQueen got a better deal than those living in Meaderville. In McQueen, the people owned the land their houses were built on. In Meaderville, people only owned their houses, not the ground.

Holter said that the people who lived in McQueen and Meaderville were unhappy about the circumstances, but they were unable to stop it.

"The company had eminent domain, they have an eminent domain law and we had no choice," said Holter.

Ellen Crain said that Meaderville stood over minerals that the Anaconda company wanted so they had no other choice but to displace the entire town.

"The Anaconda Company felt that developing a new system of mining of open-pit mining would be the best way to continue to be economically viable," said Crain.

Meaderville and McQueen were bought out by the Anaconda Company. The company demolished Meaderville to make way for the Berkeley Pit and McQueen became a dumpsite for the tailings.

Many buildings in McQueen were buried like the Holy Savior Church.

"I believe that it’s still in primarily one piece but just buried and I would love to dig it up," said Fulton.

Fulton plans to premiere the documentary in Butte.