Butte's historic O'Rourke building gets new life

Posted at 5:17 PM, Sep 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 18:55:51-04

BUTTE — The historic O’Rourke building in Uptown Butte was destined to meet with the wrecking ball. But it only took one look from an investor to realize this building was worth saving.

“How could you not want to save this beauty? I mean, when we pulled up we just fell in love with it,” said the VP of Black Diamond Investments, Ronnie Estes.

Estes and his partners began working on the building a year ago. Decades of being vacant had taken a toll on the structure and it was classified as dangerous by the city. Now, the building, which was first built in 1892, has been restored and turned into eight apartments.

“And we were also told it couldn’t be done and that’s always a good opportunity to prove people wrong and came out here and what people saw as disastrous, we saw as opportunity,” said Cris Norman of CNL Investments.

The building is fortunate to still be standing. About 20 years ago, the city was considering demolishing it. At the time, Irene Scheidecker was a member of Butte Citizens for Preservation and Revitalization whose members worked to preserve the condemned building enough to save it from being torn down.

“Just wanted to save what history was left and not see any more buildings come down like so many had come down already,” said Scheidecker.

To say the O’Rourke building was brought back from the dead is not an exaggeration, this was one of the most dilapidated buildings in Uptown. But it just shows that if somebody has the money and will, it can be brought back to life.

“I mean, this just proves to everybody that, regardless, we can take the worst building out there and turn it into this,” said Estes.

The owners say they already have rental agreements on all eight apartments and people can start moving in this Saturday.