Kate McCourt to be Butte-Silver Bow’s next historic preservation officer | Montana News

Kate McCourt, who has worked in historic preservation at the state, local and federal levels in Montana, has been named the new manager of historic preservation for Butte-Silver Bow.

McCourt is currently the Heritage Projects and Grants Manager at the Montana History Foundation in Helena, a non-profit organization that raises funds and funds for history and preservation projects across Montana.

She previously served as a Historic Preservation Officer, or HPO, for Great Falls-Cascade County, and performed archeology work for the State of Montana in Virginia City, among other positions. McCourt succeeds Mary McCormick, who retired as HPO in December.

County Chief Executive JP Gallagher said McCourt had “great experience with a lot of experience” overseeing policies and preservation efforts in Butte. He made the nomination after a search committee reviewed the nominations.

“We had an excellent pool of candidates, but Kate’s background, experience and understanding of historic preservation and our unique characteristics made her the best candidate for the job,” Gallagher said Monday.

The committee included Gallagher, Community Development Director Karen Byrnes, Commissioner John Riordan and three other county officials. Byrnes said there were 19 applicants and eight were interviewed.

“We are delighted to have Kate join our team. She will be a wonderful and highly qualified addition,” said Byrnes.

The HPO of Butte-Silver Bow is responsible for coordinating programs to identify, evaluate, promote, and protect historic resources and to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal laws and ordinances pertaining to historic preservation.

It’s an especially large order in Butte, where nearly 10,000 acres and 7,900 buildings and other resources make it and surrounding areas one of the largest National Historic Districts in the country.

McCourt grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley and earned an undergraduate degree in history from the State University of New York at Albany. She earned a Masters in Archeology from University College London.

She first moved to Montana in 2008 for her job in Virginia City and fell in love with the state. At the federal level, she is a contractor for the Center for Integrated Environmental Research at the University of Montana and has worked for the History Foundation since August 2020.

She says she looks forward to her new position at Butte.

“I feel like it would be truly an honor to be steward of one of the greatest National Historic Districts in the entire country,” McCourt said Tuesday. “Butte has always been very fascinating to me, especially starting in Virginia City and learning about the beginnings of mining in Montana and then how it culminated on such a grand scale in Butte.

“I have so much to learn and I’m really looking forward to it,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a fantastic job…and it’s going to be an extremely fascinating process for me.”

McCormick was Butte-Silver Bow’s Historic Preservation Officer from 2015 until last December. She succeeded Jim Jarvis.

McCourt’s salary will be $60,000. It begins the first week of March.

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