Not many of us can remember the Columbia Gardens anymore.  I just turned 51 years old and while my mother swears that I was there more than once, I was too young to have formed any real memories.  But she has pictures of me as a toddler there.  Somewhere.

Columbia Gardens way back when. Photo: Flickr/Butte Public Library
Columbia Gardens way back when.  Even before I was a young boy.   Photo: Flickr/Butte Public Library

Columbia Gardens wasn't really an amusement park, although it could certainly be described as one.  The Gardens was a "gift" to the children of Butte from copper baron W.A. Clark and by the time I came around had grown to feature Rock-O-Planes and a roller coaster.  There were the famous cowboy swings.  There was a pavillion for dances.  There was so much at Columbia Gardens.  The Gardens closed in 1973 and empty promises along with a suspicious warehouse fire prevented most of the relics from finding new life.  Most of them.

In 2018, after decades of planning, the Spirit of Columbia Gardens Carousel was opened at Stodden Park, and it is breathtaking.  32 gorgeous hand-carved horses are featured along with restored relics from some of what was part of the original park, such as a velvet coaster car that once rode the tracks of the roller coaster.  It has been beautifully restored and while you can't ride it, you can read all about its restoration.  The Carousel building is a welcome addition to an improved Stodden Park and a feather in the hat of our beautiful community.  You can help celebrate at the Spirit of Columbia Gardens Carousel Gala coming Saturday, January 21 to the Star Lanes Event Center.

"Football Mania" will be the theme this year as the doors will open at 4:30 and dinner will get underway at 6:30. Auctions will follow the dinner and tickets are availble right now.  Visit their Facebook page for complete details.  Send an email to for further details.

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