You can’t miss her – especially at night, when Our Lady of
the Rockies casts her protective bright white light across the entire city of
Butte from atop the Continental Divide.
She’s easier seen than visited, though.
It’s a bumpy, winding, hour-long 12-mile ride in a school bus on a gravel road
that crosses the divide seven times. Don’t let that dissuade you from taking
one of the twice-daily summer tours though.
Our Lady of the Rockies’ towering presence is even more
impressive once you arrive at the non-denominational 90-foot likeness of Mary, thought
to be the second tallest statue in America, behind the Statue of Liberty. The
80-ton likeness was finished in 1985, at a time when Butte’s spirits needed a
boost after closure of the copper mine.
At Madonna’s base is a chapel and
memorials to 13,000 women from around the world who have died in the past
century. The interior of the statue is an inverted mineshaft where people have
left rosaries and tributes to those women.