Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

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The Butte Walkthon, 1931

By Fred and Mary Kay Voget

Download and read the article in PDF format.


Importance of social events in cities

How each generation's ideas of what constitutes a social event has changed through time

How is this article different from the other ones in this issue?

What is an oral history or a reminiscence and how is it different from traditional written history?


1) What was the Great Depression?

2) Why did so many people participate in dance marathons?

3) What was life like for Montanans during the depression?

4) Study the photograph on page 61. How many cars are on the street? Why so few? What types of businesses do you see? What is pictured in the background? What was the relationship like between the mines and the community?


- Interview an older family member, preferably a grandparent, about a significant event in his/her life. Write a non-fictionalized story of the person's experience at the event.

- Write your own reminiscence of a significant event in your life.

- Investigate dance contests in other Montana towns during 1931 by examining local newspapers.

- Research popular music of the 1930s and put together an audiotape of the tunes. Provide historical background on the songs, composers, and musicians.

- Host a "Walkathon"/ dance contest at your school. If you feel adventurous, use music from the 1930s. You may conduct the "Walkathon" as a fundraiser for a school organization or scholarship fund.