How the merchants and cowboys of Butte City, Montana run the local concert hall after their own fashion.
The Butte concert saloons are usually underground. The saloon is square, with a row of private boxes all around the top. The orchestra b occupied by cowboys and miners, who guzzle beer at twenty-five cents per glass with flabby barmaids The boxes are occupied by bank presidents, merchants and wealthy citizens, who sit behind lace curtains and drink Missouri cider champagne at $5 a bottle with girls in gauze dresses or tights. The gambling tables and broken-voiced singers make a pandemonium of the place. The weird electric lights make the room look like Hades, Illuminated. At 11 o'clock the singing is now and then disturbed by pistol shots from the cowboys, who shoot down into the ground unless they have a special dislike to the singer; then the ball whisps through the curtain. Sometimes the cowboys chaff the merchants behind the curtains in the boxes and make them order whiskey for the orchestra. Everybody calls everybody else by his first name, and there is perfect democracy throughout the saloon. There is no concealment of wickedness, but each on does all he can to make the concert hall the wickedest place in the wickedest city in the world. The next morning everything is forgotten, and the merchants are in their stores, the miners in their mines and the pistolled cowboy punching his cattle ten miles away.
Reprinted from National Police Gazette, June 19, 1886.