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Historic M&M Bar in Butte goes up in flames

Historic M&M Bar in Butte goes up in flames
Historic M&M Bar in Butte goes up in flames
Historic M&M Bar in Butte goes up in flames
Posted at 12:09 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 21:45:51-04

BUTTE — Emergency crews responded to a large fire in uptown Butte at the historic M&M bar and cafe early Friday.

The fire, located at 9 North Main Street, covered the Mining City in smoke. Witnesses say firefighters were called at 3 a.m. and the entire interior of the building is gutted.

As of about 7:30 a.m., crews had extinguished the fire and were conducting mop-up efforts and swatting down hot spots. Officials say the building was unoccupied at the time of the fire, and there have been no reported injuries. At this point, investigators say the cause of the fire has not been determined.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the M&M opened in 1890, operating 24-7 for well over a hundred years. Click here for a look back at the history of the M&M.

While no one was injured in the fire, Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher said having a beloved landmark being a total loss in a fire is almost like losing a family member. “People think of Butte, they can’t mention Butte without talking about the M&M, it’s just iconic, it’s world-renowned and it’s just such a loss to our community,” said Gallagher.

While all fires are a tragedy, this one is particularly bad because this is such an iconic structure in Butte, but city officials say they’re going to do whatever they can to rebuild this landmark. “Right now, it’s hard to take it all in, like I said, I know the community will rally around Selina, we’ll do what we can to, you know, help rebuild the M&M,” said Gallagher.

Tom Cronnell, the owner of the building next to the M&M said it was heartbreaking to see the iconic building burn: “This is a sad, sad day for Butte, you know the M&M is not just a building, it’s a part of Butte’s history and culture and I just feel terrible for Selina and her team to have to go through this, it’s just terrible.”

Many bystanders watched in shock as the building burned. “Anybody who knows this town and knows the M&M knows the history behind it and the sadness we’re all facing as a town today,” said Butte resident Barb Clark.

The M&M posted on Facebook: "The show must go on. I’m at a loss for words right now, but that phrase keeps playing in my head. Thank you for all the support. I know this loss is shared by the entire community and together we will bring the M&M back once again."

We will update you as we get more information.

The M&M website provides this overview of its history:

Sam Martin and William F. Mosby were the first of many proprietors of the legendary saloon, eatery, and gambling house that has operated here since 1890. Although Martin and Mosby's tenure was short, Butte's love of nicknames endured and their initials remain as the M&M. For more than a century, the M&M never rested, serving customers around the clock. The doors were always unlocked; each subsequent owner ceremoniously and publicly disposed of the keys. The M&M catered to miners coming off their shift while the kitchen served bountiful breakfast at any hour of the day or night. When Prohibition hit, the M&M followed other Butte bars, officially becoming a cigar store. Cigars sold in the front discreetly cloaked the speakeasy in the back room, where the liquor continued to flow. The 1940's Art Deco ground-floor facade, the M&M's spectacular neon sign, and the vintage 1890's upper level have been refurbished, restoring architectural vitality to a landmark that has provided food, drink and diversion to generations of Butte residents